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#FactCheck: Jumping the gun, several media houses report false news on red zone in Guwahati
Has the Ministry of Home Affairs declared “Guwahati” as a Red Zone? Several viral stories published by a few Guwahati-based media houses, including TV channels and news websites, stated that the MHA has indeed declared “Guwahati as a Red Zone”.
The news triggered panic as people understood the consequences – a number of relaxations that were granted to the green and orange zones could be curtailed if such a decision is taken. A senior journalist working with a television channel in Guwahati, tweeted the same ‘news’ adding that 7 districts in Assam now falls under Red Zone, as classified by the Union ministry to contain the spread of COVID-19.
But, moments later, the tweet was deleted. Once the television channels and news websites started sharing clarifications, within minutes, the said journalist informed that there has been no change in designation of zones in Assam as yet.
One such report in a news website quoted Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna “confirming the declaration by MHA”. The story was widely shared on the social media.
Later in the evening, several Guwahati-based media houses — including TV channels — were flagged for sharing ‘fake news’ by Directorate of Information & Public Relations, Assam. In a series of tweets, DIPR Assam informed that the reports were false.
In one of the tweets, DIPR Assam also informed that the statement attributed to the chief secretary was not made by him. “Chief Secretary, Assam has clarified that statement ascribed to him by ‘Gplus’ has not been made by him. No statement regarding Red Zone has been made by Chief Secretary, Assam,” a graphic tweeted by DIPR Assam said.
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