Social media users, masquerading as journalists, under scanner

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Fake Journalist

SRINAGAR — J&K Government is tightening the noose around the social media users who are masquerading as journalists without any media accreditation and uploading fake information.

Sources said that a list of people who are running their Facebook pages, WhatsApp groups and Twitter accounts and uploading news content without any registration from concerned authorities will be taken to task.

Sources added that anyone who owns a smartphone tries to behave like a journalist. “They are fuelling the rumour mill and circulating unverified information on social networking sites. They are uploading fake and unverified content on social media,” sources said.

In 2018, the administration had asked all the WhatsApp group administrators to register their groups with the concerned department with all the information of the purpose of the group and be responsible for the content uploaded in the group.

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A police official, who is privy to the development, said that reputed journalist associations will be taken into consideration to weed out non-professional and non-accredited journalists.

“We will give space to credible, reputed media houses and professional journalists. Those who have nothing to do with journalism and have donned the journalist tag for blackmailing and rumour-mongering would be dealt according to the law,” he said.

Notably, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar recently said that Cyber Police cell has registered dozens of FIRs for uploading and circulating fake information on social media.

Meanwhile, Director, Department of Information and Public Relations, Dr Sehrish Asgar informed that some elements using social media to spread unverified information among masses are not only creating hurdles in the efforts of administration to deal with COVID-19 but are harming the interests of community as well.

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“All such users are under surveillance and anyone found spreading fake news would be dealt by security apparatus according to law,” Director DIPR added.

Saying that rumour mongers are making things complicated for the Government to spread messages related to COVID-19, Dr Sehrish asked the people to play their role in circulating guidelines issued by Government from time to time to contain spread of the disease.

“I advise such elements not to spread misinformation. Supreme Court (SC) has clearly issued guidelines how to deal with rumour mongers,” she said.

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