Claim: Sharing information related to the coronavirus is now a punishable offense.
The message reads “All honorable members of the group are informed that sharing any post related to Coronavirus has been declared a punishable offense by the Central Government. Only a Government agency can post on Corona. In case of wrong post or message, action will be taken against the members of the entire group including the group administrator by registering a lawsuit under the IT Act, so keep in mind and be safe: Ravi Nayak, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India”
Amid panic over the novel Coronavirus, rumor-mongering messages, videos and graphics are doing the rounds on various social media platforms. A WhatsApp forward, attributed to an official named Ravi Nayak in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), is doing rounds on the social media which claims that sharing Coronavirus messages has been declared as a punishable offense by the central government and in case of the wrong post, action will be taken against the members and the group administrator under the IT Act.
We found that several users shared the viral message on their respective handles. The claim was also sent by several readers to Newschecker’s WhatsApp helpline number for verification.
* All honorable members of the group are informed that right now any post related to Corona virus has been declared a punishable offense by the Central Government, only a government agency can post on Corona. In case of wrong post or message, action will be taken
— Jaggi…LOCKED IN (@Jaggi61889351) March 30, 2020
As we began fact-checking the claim, we looked for any orders passed by the Ministry of Home Affairs on their official website. However, we did not find any information to corroborate the same.
While checking the Home Ministry’s official website, we found that there is no official named Ravi Nayak in MHA as claimed in the viral message.
While searching the reality of the viral message, we came across the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB). PIB Fact Check, the official Twitter handle of the Press Information Bureau department that counters misinformation on government policies, denied the viral message and said, “Ministry of Home Affairs has given no such instructions. There is misinformation being spread on social media.”
गृह मंत्रालय द्वारा ऐसा कोई भी निर्देश सोशल मीडिया को लेकर नहीं जारी किया गया है |
ध्यान दें : कोरोनावायरस पर आधिकारिक और सटीक जानकारी को ही साझा करके आप अपनी और अपने परिजनों की सुरक्षा कर सकते हैं |
आइये कोरोनावायरस की इस जंग मे हम सब साथ मिलकर लड़ें| pic.twitter.com/kVLmWyNiwO
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 29, 2020
PIB Fact Check also urged social media users to seek authentic information from its site and that of the Health Ministry.
It is evident from our fact check that the message viral on social media claiming to be from the Ministry of Home affairs is false.
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