Friday, January 13, 2012

Social sites must abide by law of the land

The Centre was already on look out for a cause to prosecute 21 social networking sites, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, for offences of promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to national integration. It has got the opportunity in Delhi court to proceed against them. Social site companies are foreign based but they must abide by the law of the land where they operating. Court order must be executed whether it is in regard to the freedom of speech or any other right which has been found to be misused.
It is correct that these social sites have provided great opportunities to the people to express their views or opinions on any social, national and international developments but it does not mean that they should a means of maligning and spreading canard against any individual, organisation and community to cause danger to peace and national integration. By giving these facilities, the social sites companies do not have got license to host objectionable contents to hurt the feeling of others. The reasons put forward by the social site companies about their inability the post screen objectionable matters, numbering several crores may not be out of place but it is their responsibility to cause no danger to national peace of the country in which they are operating. In failing to do that, freedom of speech is brazenly misused. There is no doubt in it. And the order of the honourable court is in no way out of point.
The court may order china like law in regard to social site companies and act against those who fail to compliance its order in India. But the freedom of speech that has been granted to Indians by the Constitution of India is not granted to Chinese by the Constitution of China. So, freedom of speech can not be restrained in India but it must be regulated so that it must not encroach up on the liberty of others.
India is the largest democracy of the world while there is communist dictatorship in China. Opposition to government action is intolerable and is crushed at any cost in China. So, the way China acts can not be followed in India.
Though a Delhi court has rightly issued summons to various foreign-based social networking sites, including Facebook and Google, to face criminal charges for allegedly hosting objectionable contents and directed them to appear before it on March 13, it should condone them if they take undertaking of trying the best possible means to post screen the matter to delete objectionable ones. Recently, Union Telecom Minister had pleaded for directing social sites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter and others to post screen the uploading matters. It was vehemently opposed and seen in the attack on freedom of speech. The government move was swept under the carpet in view of the massive opposition by the people.
The court has rightly asked the Ministry of External Affairs to get the summons served on these companies. The court direction came after the counsel, appearing for Facebook India, said over ten out of 21 companies named as accused in the case were foreign-based and that the court would have to issue process to serve the summons on them. The court was hearing a private complaint filed by a journalist against these firms for allegedly web-casting objectionable contents.

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