Govt, Oppn on same page on law to control social media
The withdrawal of controversial statement by Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal in the Rajya Sabha brought together both the Opposition parties and the government to think about framing of a new law to put a check on the misuse of social media and stop the spread of hate messages.
In accordance with the government view that there is a need to frame a separate legislation to 'control' social media, noted cyber expert Pawan Duggal said that the law is the need of the hour, but it should be framed in such a way that freedom of expression of citizens does not get compromised.
The talk of framing a new law started soon after Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien passed an order stating that media may kindly note that whatever is expunged by me should not be published at all, either by print media or by TV channels. Prior to the order, Kurien thanked Agrawal for expressing regret in the House.
On Deputy Chairman's direction, making point of order regarding social media, TMC leader in the House Derek O'Brien said, "Sir, the point you made is well-taken. You've requested the print media and the electronic media. But there is a whole world of social media where this remark has already gone out. So, there is nothing that can be done. I know you said this in good spirit, but there is an overall responsibility on all of us, too."
Agreeing with O'Brien, Congress leader Anand Sharma said, "What O'Brien has said is important so that passions are not inflamed to the electronic and print media."
The Cyber Control Cell must ensure that the social media also respects the verdict. The social media cannot be outside the law of the country. That also has to be told very clearly to them, he said.
"We have authorities and they can stop them from spreading any hate, any rumour, or anything which can incite passions, and that the Chair must take cognizance," Sharma stressed.
"I will convey the concern articulated by the Deputy Chairman to the authorities. But you must kindly take note of this that today social media is a different medium altogether. It is the whole world," Information & Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Duggal further added that since India is a huge market, all foreign-controlled social media outlets would necessarily adhere to the law of the land if such a law is framed by the government.