The State government is planning to take stern legal action against fake and false news spread in the social media, besides the print and electronic media. The State cabinet, which met at Velagapudi, the other day, had cleared the note authorising the secretaries of every department to sue the media houses and social media posts against the government, if they are found false and motivated to harm the image of the government departments.
The note was submitted to the cabinet by Minister for Information and Public Relations Perni Venkata Ramaiah (Nani), which was accepted by the cabinet after a short discussion. The cabinet had noticed the motivated and false reports by a section of the print and electronic media against the government. The reports in Andhra Jyothi in the print and ABN Andhra Jyothi in electronic media were discussed at length and it was felt that the reports are to be curtailed.
Similarly, the reports in the social media by individuals, particularly the social media wing of the opposition Telugu Desam Party were also discussed at the cabinet meeting. The cabinet also reviewed the recent arrests of the social media activists for the false news against the government. The postings in the social media are spread widely and some go viral before the government notices.
As per the existing system, if any such report or social media post is found, it has to be sent to the commissioner of information and public relations department by the secretaries of the respective departments for action. The commissioner then takes it up and issues legal notice to the concerned person in the social media or print and electronic media house or can directly lodge a complaint with the police for action.
Now, this long process is withdrawn and the secretaries of every department are authorised to directly lodge a complaint with the police or file defamation case against the reports or social media posts. It is to be seen how aggressive that these secretaries would go against the media and social media reports.