The cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in India have risen to 169 on Thursday and three deaths have been reported so far due to the virus. The central and state governments have been working relentlessly to contain the spread of the virus by various measures including screening the suspects, banning mass gatherings, closing down public spaces, etc.
However, certain sections of the media have been continuing to mislead the public by false information to create panic among the citizens. There have been misleading reports that PM Modi will be announcing a lockdown in his address to the nation today. Another rumour is also being circulated stating that there was already a lockdown in the country restricting the movement of the citizen.
In similar propaganda, the controversial left-wing news website HW News on Thursday resorted to fear-mongering by claiming that there were rumours of a pan-India lock-down after Prime Minister Modi’s scheduled public address on Thursday.
The HW report stated that considering PM Modi’s history of surprising citizens in the past, many on the internet started speculating what’s in the store for the country now.
“Whatsapp and other social media platforms are flooded with messages that PM Modi might announce country-wide lockdown in his address tonight,” the fear-mongering report stated.
However, Shashi Shekhar, the CEO of the Prasar Bharti has refuted the claims made by HW news and others. Shashi Shekar categorically stated that information regarding the lockdown was incorrect and denied reports that speculated that PM Modi would announce a lockdown in the country during his address. He said that such incorrect reports would cause unnecessary panic in the minds of the people.
Some media outlets are speculating that PM Modi will announce a lock down in his address. This information is incorrect. It will also create unnecessary panic in minds of people, which is the last thing we need in times like this.— Shashi Shekhar (@shashidigital) March 19, 2020
Regarding another rumour stating that there has already been lockdown in the country restriction of the movement of the people, Prasar Bharti has confirmed that all the rumour regarding the lockdown spread across social media, especially by the mainstream media are baseless as there has been no lockdown in any parts of the country.
“A Press Release regarding movement restriction is widely getting circulated on WhatsApp claiming to be of Government of India. No such Press Release has been issued by Prime Minister’s office,” said a press release.
Claim: A Press Release regarding movement restriction is widely getting circulated on #WhatsApp claiming to be of Government of India.#PIBFactCheck: No such Press Release has been issued by @PMOIndia. pic.twitter.com/6CQOJUhSpG— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 19, 2020
Many ‘lockdown’ rumours are going viral on #WhatsApp and other social media platforms. #PIBFACTCHECK: The assertion made in the message is #fake and pure scaremongering.— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 19, 2020
Don’t fall for such rumours! pic.twitter.com/aZNMBxLQRo
It is shocking to see that certain sections of the media with an inherent bias towards the Modi government has been indulging in such false propaganda at a time when the entire country is in a panic mode following the outbreak of Chinese coronavirus.
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India has risen to 169 on Thursday after a record number of fresh cases reported from the various parts of the country. Maharashtra is the worst affected state with the maximum number of cases. According to the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the total tally includes 141 Indian nationals and 25 foreigners.
Later today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 8 pm today regarding the ongoing coronavirus outbreak across the world and the efforts to combat it. The address comes after a high-level meeting the Prime Minister chaired in the evening to review the efforts to contain COVID-19.