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May 20, 2019 |

Social Media and Laws

With Internet reach breaking all past records, the information spread over it has become a commodity, with the exception that a large chunk of data is still not under control. A number of problems have emerged with the popularity of social media that now rests in the pockets of the people. Earlier, fake news emerged as a major challenge in the world to the traditional media that for years have been operating under laws of the land. Media laws vary with some states offering respite under freedom of speech and expression. On the contrary there are states where media have to conform to the strict laws and toe the line as the state deems fit. In the last fifty years, the presence and operations of underground press that were banned by governments have diminished. There has been a gradual shift towards mainstream media while forwarding social or political causes. Nevertheless, the law of the land has been the ultimate weapon against such press and movements. All that has radically changed with the advent of new media, especially the social media. The transition whether we talk about the usage, the ownership, the power or influence, it has been so fast that the governments have been unable to work out proper checks and balances. The result is frail cyber laws and their enforcement across the world, including in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In the digital world where people share virtual relation, ignorance continues to be the hallmark of untoward and irresponsible acts that at times tantamount to serious crimes. We have seen many incidents in recent past in Jammu and Kashmir where people showing least regard to established laws have landed up in trouble. In many cases the actors have pleaded ignorance. Recently, when an alleged rape was reported in the local media, on social media it received a different treatment. The situation that emerged was an explosive one, which also threatened peace and harmony in the state. It points to the dangerous situation that can be triggered by a minor incident or event in the absence of scrutiny of the social media. While freedom of speech and expression are a treasure but they are absolute and come with self-responsibility. The concern that continues to haunt the governments as well as law enforcement agencies is how can it all be stopped when it requires interventions in other domains, for instance technological. We have seen social media architects continuously working on their platforms to discourage illegal activities. But the onus lies on the people who, as the new media is still in infancy, have to refrain from indulging in anything that can hurt others.   

May 20, 2019 |

Social Media and Laws

              

With Internet reach breaking all past records, the information spread over it has become a commodity, with the exception that a large chunk of data is still not under control. A number of problems have emerged with the popularity of social media that now rests in the pockets of the people. Earlier, fake news emerged as a major challenge in the world to the traditional media that for years have been operating under laws of the land. Media laws vary with some states offering respite under freedom of speech and expression. On the contrary there are states where media have to conform to the strict laws and toe the line as the state deems fit. In the last fifty years, the presence and operations of underground press that were banned by governments have diminished. There has been a gradual shift towards mainstream media while forwarding social or political causes. Nevertheless, the law of the land has been the ultimate weapon against such press and movements. All that has radically changed with the advent of new media, especially the social media. The transition whether we talk about the usage, the ownership, the power or influence, it has been so fast that the governments have been unable to work out proper checks and balances. The result is frail cyber laws and their enforcement across the world, including in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In the digital world where people share virtual relation, ignorance continues to be the hallmark of untoward and irresponsible acts that at times tantamount to serious crimes. We have seen many incidents in recent past in Jammu and Kashmir where people showing least regard to established laws have landed up in trouble. In many cases the actors have pleaded ignorance. Recently, when an alleged rape was reported in the local media, on social media it received a different treatment. The situation that emerged was an explosive one, which also threatened peace and harmony in the state. It points to the dangerous situation that can be triggered by a minor incident or event in the absence of scrutiny of the social media. While freedom of speech and expression are a treasure but they are absolute and come with self-responsibility. The concern that continues to haunt the governments as well as law enforcement agencies is how can it all be stopped when it requires interventions in other domains, for instance technological. We have seen social media architects continuously working on their platforms to discourage illegal activities. But the onus lies on the people who, as the new media is still in infancy, have to refrain from indulging in anything that can hurt others.   

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