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The Supreme Court Puts The FCU at a halt

The Central government notified the creation of a Fact Checking Unit (FCU) under the Press Information Bureau. This was developed to prevent the spread of misinformation across all social media platforms.

The Fact Checking Unit would verify and determine whether the facts of the respective news are true and valid. It is only then the news would quantify the spread of it. But, in any circumstance, if the unit deems the news to be fake and falsified information being spread, strict actions would be taken against it.

The notification stated that the telecom service providers and social media intermediaries such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and X are required to remove any misinformation, otherwise, they will forfeit their “safe harbor” immunity against lawsuits brought in this respect.

But, it is after a day that the Centre notified the establishment of FCU, the Supreme Court put a hold on the notification. The Bombay High Court's approval of the government's action was overturned by the Supreme Court today, which put a halt to the notification.

The issue pertains to freedom of expression, according to a bench consisting of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra. Nevertheless, the court refrained from discussing the case's merits.

There was a split decision even at the Bombay High Court, and one judge expressed concern that this would restrict the freedom of the press and the right to free speech. And that’s the main issue. So, a day following the Centre’s notification, there was major breaking news about its division for fact-checking. The Supreme Court has since halted this.

There is also a question regarding the timing of the notification just prior to the Lok Sabha Elections. This is also causing a lot of commotion to think otherwise whether the Centre wants to attain the power to control the freedom of Press and the right to speech.

There is a subjective viewpoint that comes into light whether it is to put a hold on the freedom of the press in case the FCU calls out critical decisions of the government. With the serving Delhi Chief Minister being arrested, it is to verify whether it is politics at play or to stop the spread of misinformation.

 

Author: Ayantika Ghosh

Edited By: Georgiana Madalina Jureschi


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