SC stays Centre's notification establishing Fact Checking Unit (FCU) to address fake news

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a notification issued by the Centre establishing Fact Checking Unit (FCU) under the Press Information Bureau (PIB) to prevent fake, false or misleading information relating to the business of the government.

A Bench headed by CJI DY Chandrachud clarified that the stay would operate till the Bombay High Court decides the pleas challenging validity of the amendments introduced to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Wednesday notified the PIB FCU to address the challenge of fake news by actively monitoring, detecting, and countering disinformation campaigns, including on social media.

The government said that FCU will counter misinformation on its policies, initiatives and schemes either suo motu or under a reference via complaints through various modes, including through WhatsApp, email and X (formerly, Twitter).

In an order passed on March 11, Justice AS Chandurkar of the Bombay High Court — the tie breaker judge — refused to extend the benefit of the statement made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the FCU would not be notified till the judgment is delivered in the case.

On January 31, a division bench of the High Court gave a split verdict on pleas challenging the amended IT Rules.



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