Regulations For Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp
The SC issued the notice to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in a plea seeking to hold Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp in order to hold them to account for allegedly spreading fake news and hate speech.
Further, the notice was issued by a Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
The bench asked the Centre to respond to the petition filed by advocate Vineet Jindal.
Another Petition For TV Channels
The petition was clubbed with another petition which demanded the set up of an independent media tribunal to adjudicate on complaints against TV news channels.
Moreover, the petition urges the sc to direct the Central government to establish some kind of mechanism for the automatic removal of hate speech and fake news within a short timeframe.
The plea says, “A registered account is sufficient to start a channel, which provides a platform of uploading videos in the social media such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc, which means anyone can float anything in the social media, there is no restriction or censor for their contents and there are no regulations at all by the government,”.
Freedom Of Speech Subject To Reasonable Restrictions
According to this petition, the emphasis on freedom of speech and expression wasn’t absolute and it was subject to reasonable restrictions.
But its exercise should be coupled with duties and responsibilities.
Why Would This Happen?
Basically, the plea was filed in concern of two tweets by one Armin Navabi (from his Twitter handle @ArminNavabi) allegedly using derogatory terms against Hindu goddesses.
While asking for a regulation on these types of speech on social media, the plea says, “…Freedom of expression is a complex right, this is because freedom of expression is not absolute and carries with it special duties and responsibilities, therefore, it may be subject to certain restrictions provided by law…Social media’s reach is much wider than that of traditional media. Freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) of the Constitution goes hand-in-hand with reasonable restrictions that may be imposed under Article 19(2).”