Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on June 11 asserted that stringent action would be taken against those spreading false information with regards to the COVID-19 situation in the state.
On June 11, Meghalaya Director of Information and Public Relations Batlang Sohliya lodged FIRs with the Cyber Crime PS, Meghalaya against Facebook ‘page’ by the name of ‘Lakewoods Eco Camp’ for uploading two fake news regarding alleged containment zones in Meghalaya.
Another FIR was against some unknown person (s) for propagating fake news through WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Social media had been hit with rumours regarding the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Shillong, in the wake of which a clarification was issued by the Chief Minister’s Office stating that no one from the CM’s Secretariat or the NIC had tested positive, adding that the information circulating on social media on this was false.
“Request our citizens to refrain from circulating/forwarding unverified information and create panic. Have instructed our officials in the meeting today to take stringent action against such individuals. Let’s avoid spreading fake news,” the chief minister said.
Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong informed that a dedicated team has been entrusted to trace out those who are spreading rumours.
“Last night it was just like a wild fire as these rumours spread in the whole state of Meghalaya. Now, the police department is on the job and we will find out whoever is responsible,” he said. He said that action would be taken against such persons as per the law.
State Health Minister Alexander Laloo Hek visited Nongmynsong area and clarified on the fake news which was circulated widely in the social media.
“Various kinds of rumours were being spread on social media about the people of Nongmynsong and about the virus, in general, creating a sense of panic among citizens of the state,” he said.
Moreover, Hek appealed to the citizens that there should be no stigmatization of COVID 19 patients and reiterated the government’s stand that there should be no discrimination against patients.