Fake News More Dangerous Than Coronavirus: SC Judge Sanjay Kaul

Justice Kaul added that however, regulating social media platforms would instead harm freedom of speech.

Updated02 Jun 2020, 05:04 AM IST
2 min read

Supreme Court Judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Sunday, 31 May, said “mindless and incessant” forwarding of WhatsApp messages without any verification is leading to spread of fake news and that many a time such messages assume racial and religious overtones. Such forwarding of messages is more dangerous than coronavirus, he commented.

“Fake news is more dangerous and coronavirus itself. Its ramifications are manifold,” he said.

“There are a lot of messages about coronavirus disease including its ‘remedies’, the origin, people who are ‘helping spread of the virus’ and so on. These messages can take religious and racial undertones.”
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Supreme Court Judge

Speaking on Fake News and Misinformation’ at an online lecture series organised by Madras Bar Association, Justice Kaul added that regulating social media platforms would instead harm freedom of speech.

He said that while holding press accountable for their writing is possible, the same cannot be said for social media.

“Regulating social media to counter such fake news could amount to violation of free speech and it is up to people to verify the correctness of the content of the message before spreading the same.”
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Supreme Court Judge

‘People Becoming Increasingly Intolerant’

Justice Kaul also pointed out that people are becoming “increasingly intolerant of opinions” that do not conform to theirs and said differing opinions have to be respected in a democracy.

“We are becoming increasingly intolerant of opinions that do not match ours and this is prevalent in all sections unfortunately. So people who hold opposing views may be called by each other as a ‘Modi Bhakt’ or an ‘Urban Naxal’ or other labels. What is perceived as the middle ground becomes the casualty.”
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Supreme Court Judge

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Published: 01 Jun 2020, 04:40 AM IST

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