FACT CHECK: Has India’s Government Banned People From Posting About COVID-19 On Social Media?

Trevor Schakohl, Matt Noel | Contributor

A viral Facebook post allegedly shows a message from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs banning citizens from posting about the new coronavirus on social media.

Verdict: False

India’s government has debunked the rumor. There is no record of Ravi Nayak working at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Fact Check:

Multiple Facebook users have shared posts claiming India’s Ministry of Home Affairs recently announced that only government agencies can post about the new coronavirus on social media. The Facebook posts attribute the announcement to Nayak, who allegedly works as the “principal secretary” in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“All honorable members of the group are informed that right now any post related to Corona virus has been declared a punishable offense by the Central Government, only a government agency can post on Corona,” reads one such post. “In case of wrong post or message, action will be taken against the members of the entire group including the group administrator by registering a lawsuit under the IT Act, so keep in mind be safe!”

India’s Press Information Bureau debunked the message in a tweet on March 30. (RELATED: Is India The World’s Oldest Democracy?)

“No such order has been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the tweet reads. “Note: By sharing only official and accurate information on coronavirus, you can protect yourself and your family members.”

The Ministry of Home Affairs maintains a public staff directory on its website. However, the Daily Caller didn’t find any individual with the name listed in the Facebook post in that directory, nor does there appear to be any “principal secretary” position. A source within the ministry told The Quint that “the name and the designation doesn’t match anyone in the ministry.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on April 14 that the nationwide coronavirus lockdown had been extended until May 3. The lockdown has been in place since March 25 in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, according to CNN.

Trevor Schakohl, Matt Noel