Monday, March 25, 2013

Social Media Regulation In India is Needed: Salman Khurshid

Cyber crimes and social media websites in India share a unique relationship. Social media platforms are frequently used to commit various forms of cyber crimes. Hence it is important to regulate these social media platforms in some manner and to some extent. Of course, we cannot regulate social media platforms in absolute sense and under all circumstance and neither should we do so.

Recently the idea of formulating guidelines for social media contents regulations in India was mooted. Before that the idea of pre screening of contents at social media websites was out rightly rejected by both social media platforms and those using them. Even Indian regulators and politicians are now well aware of the realities of social media platforms and they do not talk about regulations of social media in absolute terms.  

For instance, the Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has lauded the effectiveness of social media and reminded that the freedom that comes out of using it needs to be regulated. Thus, social media laws in India are needed to regulate use of social media in India.

Social media regulation requirements also originate as technology has the capability to put every citizen on equal footing to the Indian government. People can raise their voices and give their opinion on even the most politically sensitive issues that was not possible in the case of traditional media.

At Perry4Law Organisation and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we believe that social media websites cannot be used to incite crimes or defame others. They also cannot be used to propagate pornography or stalking the victims. In other words, social media websites are legal so long they comply with the laws of the land.

Perry4Law and PTLB also believe that a balance between freedom and regulation of social media must be maintained by Indian government. Giving priority to one over another would not be a sound strategy.

Dedicated social networking laws in India may be needed in the near future. While framework and guidelines for use of social media for government organisations is in place there is no such framework for citizens of India.