The Centre responding on a petition filed by the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind in Supreme court seeking action against media reports “spreading hatred” over the Nizamuddin Markaz congregation of Tablighi Jamaat, came out in defence of media’s right to report facts on Friday.
In its response, the Centre told the Supreme Court that the attempt to seek a blanket “gag order” against the entire media will effectively take away the journalistic independence and the rights to information from the citizens.
“Attempt to seek a blanket gag order against the entire media…will effectively destroy freedom of the citizen to know about the affairs of the respective sections of the society in the nation and the right of the journalist to ensure an informed society,” the Centre told the court.
Centre slams unregulated ‘fact-check’ websites, questions its credibility in court
Slamming the ‘fact-check’ portals and websites, based on whose reports, the Islamic organisation, Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind had submitted its petition in the apex court, Centre said: “They are unregulated websites and are mostly based on perception, conjecture, surmises, suppositions of the individual writing them.”
Questioning the credibility of such “non-accredit fact-checking agencies” the centre asserted: “Furthermore, the bonafide of such non-accredit fact-checking agencies and extraneous considerations being crept into such fact-checking reports cannot also be ruled out.”
Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind moves SC against “fake” media reports on Tablighi Jamaat
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind had on April 6 moved the Supreme Court asking the court to give directions to prevent the “communalization of Nizamuddin Markaz” issue. In its petition, the Jamiat had said that “sections of the media, instead of exercising restraint, reported the entire incident with a communal flavour”. It accuses some media houses of using terms such as “Corona jihad”, “Corona terrorism”, “Islamic insurrection” and “corona bombs”.
The petition had alleged that such “demonisation of the entire Muslim community in India” was leading to violation of Article 21 of the Constitution.
Tablighi Jamaat members emerged as the Coronavirus super-spreaders
During the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in India, the Tablighi Jamaat event at the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi had wreaked havoc in the country. In the last week of March, initially, 200 people linked to the event were reportedly admitted to various hospitals in Delhi. Subsequently, thousands of cases began to erupt across the country with links to the Tablighi Jamaat and the country stood horrified as the magnitude of the Islamic Missionary organization’s transgressions became known.
Despite it being a well-established fact that the Tablighi Jamaat had gone on to become the sole reason for the Chinese virus to spread at an alarming rate across India, Islamists and their sympathisers had collectively rushed to shield the Tablighi Jamaat super spreaders and their chief who had incited Muslims to defy lockdown.