Social Media and Freedom of Speech and Expression

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By Mridul Dogra

Introduction

India is an abode of such a beautiful environment, where you can put out your heart out, without being feared, that someone will punish you for that, although the condition of India is much better than other countries in the world, but then also the ground reality is not as competent or good for its citizens any further.

This status of India is evident from the fact that exercising of the right to freedom of speech and expression in lieu of social media and the difficulties which arise due to the unprecedented involvement of the stated cyber laws of the country and in specific section 66 A of IT Act, 2000.(Repealed: Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India)

Nowadays, the term social media holds much significance in today’s society. It tends to exert effect on almost every trend within the society. It affects the aspects like politics and uplifting some topics on a vast scale, in exhibiting the idea of any individual. And in some unruly times, it causes spread of hate or fake news.

Social media serves as an instrument to Indians within viable medium to upraise their voice against unfair means, and against unfair means, and inequality.

People and persons from under the belt or less privileged persons are always pressurized by the elite or rich people of the society. But now in the times of social media these oppressed and suppressed sections of society are upcoming or getting socially aware to raise their concerns.

Social Media

In the earlier times if a farmer died from the pressure of indebtedness, nobody would notice. But however in today’s world if a farmer hangs himself, then the entire nation mourns his demise through the medium of social media. NGOs have also got an uplift with the rising knowledge on the concern.

Social media also plays part in building the positive Image of the politicians and bureaucrats and help in formation of public opinion to a great extent. It has become like a “pointed knife” which if not handled with utmost care can cut our own hand itself. It is a real game influencer in these times, having millions of likes and followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Utility of social media in field of trade and consumerism marketplace cannot be underestimated at all. Various kind of brands socialize on social media platforms to build own communities, inter-linkage and creating awareness the masses by promoting their brands. Social media definitely has some negative consequences also, like privacy concerns, information overburdened, & internet misrepresentations. Social media platforms are seldom accused of degrading the image and character of brands, companies, celebrities, as well as other members of general public.

India is a secular country and is a home to people of different religions and cultural beliefs, the social media have negative effects as exhorting hatred in name of religion and communal violence spread. Just an opinion or comment on social media spreads like fire which can lead to dreadful riots and ugly demonstrations.

Thus social media prove to be hindrance in the common man’s life also. Thus there must be some kind of guidelines and restrictions on social media so that nobody can misuse it in name freedom of speech and expressions.

Censoring Social Media

All together it is very essential to walk alongside development in today’s world. Technology oriented world with an everlasting capacity for communicating, making easy and collecting the data with efficient blink of speed has put data and information at the core of development.

There can be no democratic structure without transparency and information circulation.

Social media beholds imminent power to reach out to large chunk of mass of people at one time, which in turn has given an unmeasured power in everyone’s hand to judge, give opinion and hold responsible the powerful and exposing the mishandling of things and bringing out corrupt practices.

Till now it has happened that governments in many parts of the world have tried to hide information from large sections of society. And now with the inculcation of social media platforms this mass distribution of information among the general people has created a stir of fear in the minds of government and powerful people in society.

Conclusion

Internet with time has also become an unfathomable medium of sharing information with no boundaries and its unprecedented outreach in this world that is why government should also try to censor this powerful medium in order to regulate to some extent this social media age and generation. Social media is strong method of executing one individual’s right to freedom of speech and relevant expression. But, it is also frequently used for illegitimate acts which in turn have provided impetus to the government’s effort at censoring social media. On one side there is immediate requirement for stopping all the problematic and illegitimate matter being uploaded upon social media, while on the other side present are bound fears of defaulting of civil rights of people as an unavoidable result of process of censorship.

Thus what is sought to be done in proper conduct of social media that doesn’t violate the fundamental essential rights allotted in the constitution of India. But it either also doesn’t mean absolute individuality given but a middle path ought to be followed of process and not censorship. An analytical survey of present information and technology rules says that there is unmeasurable and extensive force in government’s sphere while facing with security in cyber space. Then also it’s not enough to stumble upon the misuse of social media. Thus, a direct rule is most appropriate to keep the social media platform in good condition.

But, many practical difficulties may come out while doing such acts. Present is very thin differentia that distinguishes the happiness of one’s right and the defaulting of happiness of someone else’s right in conduct. In social media the regulation of freedom of speech and expression of one may result in extrusion of someone else’s privacy and defamation. Now, again the thought of matter differs from one individual to another. An animated character is an easy method of having fun but the wrong done may be get by the person required in an identical method such as color remarks, religion, sentiments have alternate meanings for varied people.

Keeping all everything stated in mind this right to freedom of speech of speech and expression should be protected by govt. Hence, it’s recommended for government to create a group committee with some technological advancement and experts who check all possible aspects of pros and cons of social media and provide a necessary manner in lieu of which it can be controlled without disturbing the civil rights of citizens.

References

https://www.dotdash.com/
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media

● https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328476554_Social_Media_and_Freedom_of_Speech_and_Expressi
on_Challenges_before_the_Indian_law
● https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-impact-of-social-media-on-society
● http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article­426­social­media­and­freedom­of­speech­and­
expression.html#:~:text=Freedom%20of%20speech%20and%20expression%20is%20broadly%20unders
tood%20as%20the,such%20as%20threats%20and%20persecutions.

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