SC issues notice to Centre on plea seeking laws to regulate social media platforms


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking directions to make laws to regulate social media platforms and to hold Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram directly responsible for spreading hate speeches and fake news.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, while hearing Public Interest Litigation (PIL) today, said that the court will issue a notice to the Centre and tag this with a pending petition seeking the constitution of a media tribunal.

The PIL was filed by advocate Vineet Jindal earlier in the top court and sought a direction to the Union government for establishing a mechanism for automatic removal of hate speech and fake news within a short time.

“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,” it said.

The plea was filed in wake of two tweets by the name of one Armin Navabi from his Twitter handle @ArminNavabi against Hindu goddess and using derogatory terms.

It stated that freedom of expression is a complex right, this is because freedom of expression is not absolute and carries with it special duties and responsibilities, therefore, it may be subject to certain restrictions provided by law.

The plea further said that it would be beneficial for the country to look at the regulation standards implemented by different countries in order to introduce guidelines, which form a balance between freedom of speech and accountability of social media platforms.

“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.

It also said there had been a few horrific communal riots and social media has been playing a harmful role in inciting communal violence in the country and time has come to check its misuse. (ANI)