Government to evolve consensus on social media regulation

Government to evolve consensus on social media regulation

Information Technology minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday told Rajya Sabha that the government will work towards a consensus on rules for controlling social media and discuss the issue with all stake holders before taking the final call.

A local court had recently directed some internet giants to remove objectionable contents from their websites. CPM member P Rajeev raised the issue through a motion in the House and demanded annulment of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011.

He alleged that it was an attempt to impose “private censorship” through intermediaries like facebook, Google, tweeter and others. He said that these rules are against the provisions of Information of Technology Act,2000 and against the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the constitution.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said the “language” of restrictions should not lead to wrong interpretation. “It should be clear and specific,” he said.

Others including D Raja (CPI),  M S Natchiappan (Congress), N K Singh of (JD-U), Derek O’ Brien (TMC) and Ramgipal Yadav (SP) said regulation of web content should not infringe upon ones’s freedom of expression. However, they all agreed upon “reasonable restrictions on the content of internet.” However the members unanimously agreed on removal of obscene content, hate speech or terror messages.

Sibal assured the House that the government does not want to curtail freedom of speech, but looks to regulate unlawful and harmful content.  

“These are sensitive issues as most internet companies were registered abroad and not subjected to Indian laws,” said Sibal.

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