Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with the members of the Non-Aligned Movement on Monday, spoke about the fake news virus. He said, “Even as the world fights COVID-19, some people are busy spreading some other deadly viruses such as terrorism, fake news, and doctored videos to divide communities and countries”.
Here are a few examples of how fake news during the pandemic has proven to be very dangerous:
On 31 March, fake news via Whatsapp claiming buses would be available from Anand Vihar bus terminal which led to a near exodus of migrants from Delhi. The crowds on the location violated all social distancing norms endangering lives during COVID.
On 3 April, it was reported that fake news about people injected with coronavirus led to attacks on health workers in Indore. A team of doctors, ASHA workers and revenue officials who had gone to identify the family members of a 65-year-old man who died after having been infected with the coronavirus were pelted with stones and chased away from the spot.
On 18 April fake news about a four-day curfew at a locality in Mumbai led to panic buying with locals flouting all social distancing norms
Fake news associating the spread of COVID with people from the North-East has led to racist attacks on them. A miscreant allegedly spat on a girl from Manipur in Mumbai’s Kalina Market on 7 April. A similar attack took place in Delhi in March where a woman from Manipur was spat on and called “corona”.
On 24 March, an air hostess posted a video claiming people in her locality spread rumours that she was suffering from coronavirus. She said that her mother could not go to the market “because people are refusing her saying that she might spread the Coronavirus to other people.”