Social Media And Freedom Of Speech -By Arvind Panda

India is a country where one can express his/her opinion on private as well as on the public platform. The constitution of Indian gives certain fundamental rights to its citizens where one can express his/her opinion without any fear or risk.

Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India also grants the citizens of India the right to freedom of speech and expression

Unlike any other communist country, People in India can speak their heart out. A person can express his views in any form, social media is one such example of it.

The Internet and Social Media has become an important communications platform, through which people can express their right of freedom of expression and exchange ideas.

In recent years or so, with the increase in technology, social media are accessible to almost everyone. In the past, there were limited resources and thus people of the country did not get a proper platform to exercise their Right of Speech and Expression. But now the scenario is changed. People from any part of the country can speak about their opinions and it can reach millions within seconds. Also the UN Human Rights Committee has also tried to give reasonable application to freedom of opinion and expression in different media landscape, which is mostly occupied by the internet and mobile communication.

For many it is a golden opportunity to express their thoughts but as we all know with good comes the bad. There are many who misuse these platforms to spread hatred and negativity in the society.

It must be the responsibility of the citizens to ensure that there is no misuse of these rights.

Also to cope up with the situation like this there are various steps taken by the government to reduce the misuse of the rights, such as;

As per Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India, the legislature may enact laws to impose restrictions on the right to speech and expression on the following grounds:

(a) Sovereignty and integrity of India

(b) Security of the State

(c) Friendly relations with foreign States

(d) Public order

(e) Decency or morality

(f) Contempt of court

(g) Defamation

(h) Incitement to an offence

Although there is no specific legislation in India which deals with social media, there are several provisions in the existing cyber laws which can be used to address problems in case of violation of any rights in the internet and social media.

The present cyber laws of India are not adequate. A survey of the existing IT laws shows that there are enormous power in the hands of the Government while dealing with security in the Internet. Even then, it is not sufficient to check the misuse of social media. Hence, a specific legislation is desirable to regulate social media.

Such Legislation will help the government with the misuse of these rights and also the people who wanted to spread negativity and violence and people who’s only motive is to misuse such rights must think twice before committing such acts. Also there must be strict punishment to the repeated offender.

BY- Arvind Panda

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