The Minister’s Confusion

Thursday, 21 January 2021



The Minister’s Confusion

Swapnil Bharali | April 21, 2020 12:43 hrs

Comments on social media, made especially by prominent personalities, tend to create major confusion and the latest by the Union Minister for Law, Communications & Technologies and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad is no exception. The union minister tweeted some information regarding what will open and what will not after 20th April and this only succeeded in confusing the entire country.

Along with other information, he tweeted that private and commercial establishments will be open after 20th April. Now, no one can doubt the genuineness of Ravi Shankar Prasad’s Twitter handle, more so the media and this became a sensational story. As soon as he tweeted, many media organisations started reporting that commercial and private establishments will open post 20th April. 

Now, the ambit of “private establishments” is huge - restaurants, malls, bars, swimming pools, saloons, IT firms and many more fall under private establishments. The owners and the employees of such establishments immediately started raising questions and the general feeling of the lockdown being truly eased way ahead of time gathered ground. The media organisations thereafter started questioning the state bureaucrats who instantly clarified that such private establishments will not open under any circumstances immediately after 20th April. 

The point of concern is that the state and the central governments are spending a huge amount of money in spreading awareness to combat fake news and a tweet from an honourable union minister in times of such special emergency in the country appears to be terribly irresponsible. The “fake news pandemic” in our country has taken away many lives in the past; in our very own Assam the infamous Dokmoka lynching case where two Guwahati youths were lynched purely on the basis of a fake piece of news circulating on social media continues to haunt our people. The tweets by leaders and politicians are always taken seriously by media organisations and such Twitter accounts have become valuable sources of genuine news for many journalists. But this tweet of Ravi Shankar Prasad has again raised questions about the dependability of such Twitter accounts because in spite of the leader tweeting important information, the journalists were left to double validate the same with the bureaucrats of the country. 

The political leaders of the country, especially those in the government, really need to exercise caution when wanting to disseminate news as vital as this and not create confusions in the process.

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