This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jag mohan thaken. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Social Media Platforms Banned In 6 Haryana Districts: Is It Justified?

More from Jag mohan thaken

“If you notice  some incidents of corruption in government offices, instead of bringing these corrupt employees to book,  you ban all these offices to function .”

If incidents of purse snatching—pickpocketing  increase in public transport, then instead of controlling  the  crime or Catching Pocket Pickers  or Purse Snatcher – stop the entire  public transport to run .”

These are the assumptions on which some Deputy Commissioners in Haryana seem to be working to curb the fake news on social media platforms.

As per reports, on getting information of broadcasting and communicating fake news during COVID-19 crisis by some social media news platforms, instead of taking legal action against the defaulting platforms only, Deputy Commissioners of six districts in Haryana have banned all the social media news platforms operating under their jurisdiction.

A report published in Indian Express on July 12, 2020, states that “‘All the social media news platforms based on WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, YouTube, Instagram, Public App and LinkedIn have come under the ban ordered by the DCs of Sonipat, Kaithal, Charkhi Dadri, Karnal, Narnaul and Bhiwani on the pretext being stated that ‘dissemination of unverified and misleading news from such platforms may disturb tranquillity in the society and may adversely affect the mental health of common man” during the coronavirus pandemic”. 

Representational image.

Last, the ban was imposed by Karnal Deputy Commissioner Mr Nishant Kumar Yadav exercising the powers of District Magistrate and Chairperson of District Disaster Management Authority on July 10  for 15 day. It stated that: “Some persons in Karnal District, without getting registered with DIPR Haryana or Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India, are disseminating news on various social media platforms e.g YouTube,  WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, Public App, LinkedIn and others without verifying the facts and purely based on misleading and incorrect facts, due to which there is the possibility of arising a misleading or confusing situation during the COVID pandemic. If this is not controlled, it may have a bad effect on the mental health of the populace .”

The order further adds, “As of about the number of such social media platforms operating in the district, it is very difficult to ascertain the exact number and  impossible to serve them individual notices, so a ban is being imposed on all such platforms .”

The District Magistrate’s order also states that the violations of these orders are punishable under Section 188 and 505(1) of IPC, Section 54 of Disaster Management Act 2005 and Section 1 and 2 of Epidemic Disease Act, 1957.

The first such order was issued by the Charkhi Dadri Deputy Commissioner exercising his powers as District Magistrate on May 12 this year.

The Bhiwani District Magistrate issued such an order on June 26 2020, applicable until further orders, and circulated it to the concerned offices vide office letters  no.5650-5700/M-B dated 26.06.2020 for information & necessary action. This step of banning all the above-stated platforms has peeved the  Journalists’ Union and journalists associated with such platforms and to oppose it, they have given representation to the District Magistrate Karnal and the Chief Minister of Haryana.

The representation submitted on behalf of Haryana Patrakar Sangh by its  President KB Pandit states, “It is very disheartening to know that Karnal’s observant, responsible District administration took the decision of Blanket ban on Karnal’s social media news channel for next 15 days solely on presumptions of certain facts. It is very unfortunate to see that without giving a second thought of how Social Media Journalists have worked 24×7 during the pandemic outbreak for the people of Karnal. This platform has played a vital role in bridging the gap between the Government and people. Thus instead of a blanket ban on social media, the government should have in the first place thought of regulating social media by bringing out rules and regulations as per process.”

Information divulges that  District Magistrate Karnal has cited Supreme Court decision of date 31.03.2020 in Civil Writ Petition NO. 468/2020 and 469/ 2020 passed in Alakh Alok Shrivastav  V/S Union Of India and others in support of his action.

Commenting on the Supreme Court decision, which was taken as supporting base by the Karnal District Magistrate in his banning order, Mr K B Pandit refutes, “I would also cite the recent Supreme Court decision (W.P 468/2020). In this case, the Central Government approached the Supreme Court seeking a directive to news outlets to refrain from publishing any COVID-19 related news without clearance from the government on the ground of ‘fake or inaccurate’ reporting could cause panic in the country but the Hon’ble Supreme Court rejected this request of Central Government.”

The journalists of Karnal under the banner of Haryana Patrakar Sangh also met Haryana Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar on July 11, who assured the journalists that policy for the social media will be finalized within 48 hours.

Requesting Chief  Minister of Haryana for a rethought, Haryana Patrakar Sangh President Mr K B Pandit said, “ I hereby also bring to your notice that this pandemic outbreak has already led to financial crunch for many journalists who have lost their jobs and this sudden ban would further worsen the condition.”

When contacted, Mr K B Pandit told the writer of these lines on 13.07.2020, “We had met the Chief Minister on July 11 and he ensured us that in next 48 hours, they would announce a policy with regard to social media news channel/pages, so we are expecting that today, the government should announce the policy, so that the media channel can start their operations ASAP.”

The District Magistrate Karnal has taken the plea for banning the social media platforms that “some persons in Karnal District, without getting registered with DIPR Haryana or Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India, are disseminating news on various social media platforms e.g YouTube,  WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, Public App, LinkedIn  and others.’

Now the question strikes whether there are any guidelines of Central Government or the concerned State Government to get these social media platforms registered for their operation? Balwinder Singh Jammu, National  General Secretary  Indian Journalists Union (IJU) comments that there are no such guidelines of the central government and IJU is against such ban as well as the fake news. “There are no such guidelines issued by central government. We are against the ban. Indian Journalists Union is against the ban and at the same time, we are also against fake news.”

When there is no policy or guideline of the Central Government or the Haryana State Government to register such platforms on a date, then why are such bans being imposed? Are these bans justified? The question awaits the answer.

It was first published here.

You must be to comment.

More from Jag mohan thaken

Similar Posts

By Jeet

By Akanksha kapil

By Avinash Tavares

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below