This Article is From Feb 01, 2021

Social Media Regulation: Supreme Court Issues Notice To Centre On Plea

The court had earlier notified the Centre on a PIL seeking a media tribunal to stop fake news and hate speech on television channels.

Social Media Regulation: Supreme Court Issues Notice To Centre On Plea
New Delhi:

The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Central government, besides others, in connection with a public interest litigation (PIL) that has sought regulation of social media platforms for hate speech and fake news. The plea had wanted the court to direct the Union government to frame laws for criminal prosecution of persons involved in such activities.

The PIL filed by advocate Vineet Jindal had requested the establishment of a mechanism for automatic removal of such content within a short timeframe so that its reproduction could be minimised.

"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," the plea said.

The plea was filed in the wake of two tweets posted by one Armin Navabi through the Twitter handle @ArminNavabi allegedly against Hindu goddess, using derogatory terms, according to ANI.

"India has seen plenty of communal violence in the past, but in today''s time of social media, these aggressions are not just restricted to the regional or local population, the entire country is taken along. The fog of rumours, innuendo, and hate that act as kindling in a local communal clash immediately spread across India through social media," the plea said.

A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian today tagged Mr Jindal's petition with a pending one on a similar issue. It had, on January 25, issued a notice to the Centre seeking its response on a PIL on appointing a media tribunal on stopping fake news and hate speech by television channels.

Hearing Mr Jindal's please, Chief Justice Bobde today said, "Already there is plea on Media Tribunal, we will tag with that petition."

In January, PTI had reported the filing of a petition by advocate Mahek Maheshwari, seeking the regulation of Twitter and other social media platforms, and making them culpable under criminal and civil laws through guidelines, till Parliament passes a specific law.

The petition alleged that Twitter crossed all limits of lawlessness when it "supported the mocking of the highest judiciary of nation that is also institutionally of Supreme Court of Nation and individually of the judges as well".