Tag Archives: Social media in India

How not to handle online hate speech in India

The first amendment to the Indian Constitution, passed in 1951, allows the government to impose “reasonable restrictions” on a citizen’s right to freedom of speech and expression, in order to protect “the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence”.

The means to impose these “reasonable restrictions” are described in several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc). Section 298 of the IPC makes punishable words uttered “with the deliberate intent of wounding religious feelings”; section 504 addresses “intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace”; section 153 makes punishable speech acts that lead or could have led to rioting; section 295A could land you in jail for three years over “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings”; section 153B permits the punishment of speech acts that question any social, religious or linguistic group’s allegiance to the Constitution of India or that such a group be denied Constitutional rights. Read more…

Quietly censors the nanny state: Mishi Choudhary



New Delhi’s Sanchar Bhawan, which houses the office of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

The recent curbs on social networking websites in India demonstrate the unpredictability of the legal environment, both for businesses and the citizens. Whether its the Government of India’s (GoI) insistence on getting access to corporate emails and text messages sent via BlackBerry devices, or changing stances on “pre-screening” user generated content, the authorities seem to be doing a tap dance around legal issues. The implementation of rules seems surreptitious as they are bent conveniently in the name of “security”. Continue reading Quietly censors the nanny state: Mishi Choudhary

Here’s what India’s Communications and IT Minister thinks about online freedom

Kapil Sibal said the following at a conference on social media in Delhi recently:

We’ve seen the power of the medium in the last six months or so seeking to perform a transformational role, but in the absence of a balance… this is really the danger of sites like these. What happens in the process is that all kinds of opinion get both elicited and taken forward, without the necessary wherewithal, and there’s a great danger, because this, I believe, is a part of freedom of speech. Continue reading Here’s what India’s Communications and IT Minister thinks about online freedom