New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday voiced serious concern over running of fake news on social media platforms and web portals, and said even news shown in a section of channels bears communal tone, which may bring a bad name to the country.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was hearing a batch of petitions including the one filed by Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind seeking directions to the Centre to stop dissemination of "fake news" related to a religious gathering at the Markaz Nizamuddin and take strict action against those responsible for it.
"Everything shown in a section of private news channels bear a communal tone. Ultimately, this country is going to get a bad name. Did you ever attempt to regulate these private channels," asked the bench.
Social media only listens to "the powerful voices" and several things are written against judges, institutions without any accountability, said the bench which also comprised justices Surya Kant and A S Bopanna.
"There is no control over fake news and slandering in web portals and YouTube channels. If you go to YouTube, you will find how fake news is freely circulated and anyone can start a channel on YouTube," it said.
The top court agreed to hear after six weeks the Centre's plea seeking transfer of petitions from various high courts to itself on the issue of newly-enacted IT rules meant to regulate online content including social media and web portals.
The Chief Justice added that the social media platforms do not respond if an issue is raised in connection with the content. "I have not come across any public channel, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube ... they never respond to us and there is no accountability, about the institutions they have written badly about, and they don't respond and say this is their right," said the Chief Justice.
He added, "Do not know who to approach...they are only concerned with the people who are powerful... judges, common man, they are not bothered."
The top court made these observations during the hearing of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind petition, against fake and motivated news in connection with the Nizamuddin Markaz incident in the national capital.