"Lack of understanding of IT laws posing challenge"

Rediff.com founder Ajit Balakrishnan speaks at a seminar on whether freedom of expression was under threat in the digital age

PTI | January 16, 2013



Lack of understanding of the new age laws governing internet by enforcement agencies in the country is posing a big challenge, a prominent Indian entrepreneur said on Tuesday.

Rediff.com founder Ajit Balakrishnan regretted that lack of understanding among the enforcement officials about such laws was posing a big challenge.

Citing the arrest of two girls in Mumbai for their Facebook post following Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's death, he said they were, in fact, booked under section of the Indian Penal Code and not under the IT Act.

He said this at a seminar in the national capital on whether freedom of expression was under threat in the digital age.

According to Bakrishnan, legal system has to keep itself updated on handling internet-related issues properly. "The legal system does not know how to deal with these issues. We also get request from the US on internet issues. As nation states, we must find answer to this. Nobody understands new laws and that is facing challenges," he said.

He also stressed on protecting the interest of information intermediaries saying such concept "is not understood by officials in small towns".

Speaking at the seminar, Ramanjit Chima of Google felt that it was vital to find out whether the "restrictions are lawful or constitutional".

Director of 'free speech debate' in Oxford University Timothy Garton Ash said, "You have to distinguish between norms of principles which should be always applied everywhere in all sense...I would not criminalise hate speech as many European countries do. I would criminalise dangerous speech."

His suggestion came in wake of a collective sense of fear among netizens following the recent arrests of social networking site users for posting controversial content.

However, the speakers were unanimous of the view that the debate over internet freedom was global in nature and threat perception was all pervasive.

Prof Ash felt that the threat from internet was more on the issue of privacy than anything else. He said sites like Facebook today have "ticked us to share more of the private data".

He, however, thanked social networking sites as they have helped in shaping some of the mass uprisings like the one in Egypt and mobilised large-scale protest following the recent Delhi gang-rape incident.

The speakers were of the view that internet provides people the biggest opportunity for exercising freedom of expression through smooth dissemination and sharing of information.

Comments

 

Other News

Improving livelihood with financial access is the task ahead

“Demonetisation has created an entire system of digitisation and financial inclusion,” said PK Gupta, managing director (Retail and Digital Banking), State Bank of India, at the launch of the Governance Now India Financial Inclusion Case Book in Mumbai on Friday. He further stated though there

How Bhutan is enuring food security

When Bhupen Gurung from the Royal University of Bhutan told the audience at the TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi, about dropping levels of poverty in Bhutan, many public policy academicians were left intrigued. Coming from the ‘Land of Happiness’ (Bhutan ranked 97 among 155 countr

Uncivil servants

An IPS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre holding the post of assistant superintendent of police was caught cheating, using high-tech gadgets, while appearing in the IAS examination in October, as was widely reported in the media. The case has shaken the conscience of the enlightened citizenry and shows the rot t

Manufacturing will remain dark horse for economy: Niti Aayog expert

Manufacturing will remain the dark horse for the Indian economy, especially as labour-intensive industries shift from China, writes Sukhgeet Kaur, director, project appraisal and management division, Niti Aayog in an official

The un-importance of being Pravin Togadia

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) working president Pravin Togadia is in the news after a long time. This week, Togadia went `missing` for an entire day as the Gujarat and Rajasthan police were on the lookout for him, arrest warrant in hand. Togadia was later brought to a hospital in an unconscious state. At a p

Confused signals

Of late, there have been some anxious moments for broadcasters and no one knows where it’s been coming from, and why it’s happening. For starters, the ministry of information and broadcasting is the licensor for TV channels, in two categories: (i) news and current affairs (&lsquo

Current Issue

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter