By Twesh Mishra:
New Delhi: In a landmark decision for the online realm and the once absolute freedom of expression, a Delhi court, whilst acting on a Public Interest Litigation directed 21 websites to remove all ‘anti-social’ content before February 6, 2012.
Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and YouTube were major players targetted in this decision and representatives of 21 websites to face trial for allegedly webcasting objectionable content were summoned by the honorable court.
It is mandatory for the mentioned websites to eliminate all objectionable content and file a compliance order regarding the same prior to February 6th, 2012. If failing to do so, these websites would face charges of contempt of court.
Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar took cognizance of a private criminal complaint and directed the government to take “immediate appropriate steps” and file a report in the court by January 13, 2012.
The court said, “it appears from a bare perusal of the documents that prima facie the accused in connivance with each other and other unknown persons are selling, publicly exhibiting and have put into circulation obscene, lascivious content which also appears to the prurient interests and tends to deprave and corrupt the persons who are likely to read, see or hear the same.”
“It is also evident that such contents are continuously openly and freely available to everyone who is using the said network irrespective of their age and even the persons under the age of 18 years have full and uncensored access to such obscene contents,” the court said.
If failing to comply to the courts orders, the web companies would face trial for committing punishable offenses under sections 292 (sale of obscene books etc), 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person etc) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
When considering from a rational perspective while adhering to a neutral bias, one needs to realise that the freedom of expression has been misused to the extent of forcing the government authorities to curb it.
Yes, we Indians are guilty of spreading baseless rumours and propagating anti-establishment thoughts into the masses completely overlooking the direÂ repercussionsÂ of ourÂ adolescentÂ actions.
The online realm has been a war front since the Orkut days and memories of anti-Pakistan and anti-India groups are not unknown to any veteran. One needs to realise that if any media organisation is prevented from spreading hate speech among the masses, the most powerful instrument of the future needs to be curbed with the same parameters in order to maintain our right to freedom of expression. Healthy expression!
Courtesy – PTI & NDTV
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