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Action Will Be Taken If Social Media Misused: Union IT Minister

“There is freedom of speech but Article 19A says that this is subject to reasonable restrictions,” Prasad said.

Published
India
2 min read
Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
i

The Centre on Thursday, 11 February, told the Rajya Sabha that action will be taken if Indian laws were flouted and cautioned social media platforms against spreading fake news or anything inciting violence.

"We respect social media a lot, it has empowered common people. Social media has a big role in the Digital India programme. However, if social media are misused to spread fake news and violence, then action will be taken on the misuse of social media in India whether Twitter or else," Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology, said in the Upper House, according to ANI.

"There is freedom of speech but Article 19A says that this is subject to reasonable restrictions," the Union Minister said in the Rajya Sabha, as he reminded platforms like Twitter and Facebook to comply with Indian rules while carrying out business.

He said all the social media platforms will have to adhere to the Constitution of India. The Indian Constitution allows criticism of the government and the Prime Minister, but spreading fake news will not be permitted, he said, according to IANS.

Prasad further said, "We have flagged certain issues to Twitter and social media has to take into consideration of the Indian Laws if they want to do business in the country.”

“Different parameters can’t be allowed for different countries. It can’t be different for the Capitol Hill incident and some other parameters and for the Red Fort incident.”
Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology

WHAT HAD HAPPENED EARLIER?

Amid escalating tensions between the government and Twitter, the Union Electronics & IT Ministry (MeitY), in a virtual meeting with top officials of the social media company on Wednesday expressed strong displeasure in the way Twitter has pushed back against demands to block over 1,400 accounts related to the farmers’ protests.

According to a press release, Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, MeitY, held a meeting with Monique Meche, Vice President Global Public Policy, and Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal, and stated that “lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity” and “they must be obeyed immediately.”

Sawhney expressed his disappointment to the leadership team about the manner in which “Twitter has unwillingly, grudgingly and with great delay complied with the substantial parts of the order,” the Ministry’s statement said.

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Earlier on Wednesday, the social media giant, in response to the blocking orders by the government against 1,400 accounts related to the ongoing farmers’ protests, had stated in a blog that it had “withheld a portion of the accounts” but “within India only".

In its blog, the micro-blogging site stated that the withheld accounts “continue to be available outside of India”, in accordance with the platform’s internal content witholding policy.

The social media platform further said that it had not taken any action on accounts of media, journalists, activists, and politicians, as to do so “would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law. To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law. We informed MeitY of our enforcement actions today,” it wrote in a blog post.

(With inputs from IANS.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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