Misuse of Social Media is not freedom of speech

Misuse of Social Media is not freedom of speech

By Manish Kumar

Freedom of speech and expression is the basic tenet of any democracy. However, one should not forget that no freedom is absolute or completely unrestricted. Social media is increasingly becoming an important part of an individual’s life, but simultaneously instances of use of abusive language, defamatory contents and hate speech in these platforms have become very common.

The Government of India has established IT Act 2021 to regulate social media and OTT platforms. It was duly established to curb the usage and propagation of hate speech. The IT Act prohibits uploading or sharing content which is obscene, sexually explicit, igniting hatred, provocating terrorism, misleading information or violates a person’s privacy etc.

Now-a-days, it has been observed that people are sharing communally provocative statements of various religious leaders or individuals on social media whenever any communal issue is cropping up. In a communally charged society, sharing of communally provocative material further fuels the communal hatred against different communities. The social media users must not forget that there is also a responsibility attached with freedom of speech that they are responsible for the gravity of contents shared/uploaded on Social Media.

They cannot get away by merely saying that they have only shared the contents which had appeared in news channel. In case of news channel, the controversial content are shown once or twice but when the same content is shared on social media, its spread becomes many fold and continues to spread even after the issue has subsided on news channels. Moreover, the contents can be seen any time and remains on social media platform for indefinite time. Such communally provocative contents are also used in future, when any new communal issue crops up. Hence, it would be prudent for the countrymen to stand together against terrorism regardless of internal differences on political or religious issues.

As social media is open and common platform, it is the responsibility of every user to use it wisely and with decency for the sake of national unity and integrity. Anyone found violating the restriction laid down by the Government of India under IT Act 2021 are bound to face legal action under this IT Act.

(The views expressed in the article are personal to the author. It has nothing to do with janlekh.com management.)

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