wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Chattisgarh shuts down internet in three districts amidst communal tensions

Is there another way to curb hateful social media posts that doesn’t involve snapping internet services? There’s no short answer.

The Chattisgarh government has suspended internet services in three districts after communal violence broke out in the Kawardha district on October 5, the Times of India has reported. Police officials in the state confirmed to MediaNama that internet services are currently suspended in the Kawardha and Rajnandgaon districts. But the restriction of internet services in Bemetra hasn’t been independently verified.

Internet suspension has unofficially become standard operating procedure during public unrest or violence in India. Increasingly, state and central government bodies are relying on internet suspensions, creating communication blackouts in conflict-ridden areas.

Why was the Internet snapped in 3 districts of Chattisgarh?

Communal tensions began in Kawardha on October 5 over two flags, one saffron and the other green, and quickly escalated into violence and damage to property. Chattisgarh’s Director General of Police told Hindustan Times:

On Tuesday, a protest was called by a right-wing organisation turned violent when the protesters entered the areas dominated by the other community. The situation is under control and curfew has been imposed. A few people including some police personnel sustained minor injuries but they are stable. — Director General of Police DM Awasthi quoted by HT.

The report by the Times of India claimed that the shutdown was caused to curb hateful social media content, but police officials refused to confirm this fact. MediaNama could not find any public order by the Chattisgarh government regarding the Internet shutdown.

Violation of Supreme Court judgement: Last year, the Supreme Court judgement in the case of Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India laid down that state governments must make orders regarding internet shutdowns publicly available. The Chattisgarh government’s non-compliance comes after the order for a recent internet shutdown in the Lakhimpur-Kheri district, Uttar Pradesh was also not made public.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Aren’t there other ways of curbing hateful social media posts?

In its judgement, the Supreme Court also laid down that internet shutdowns were only to be used if they were necessary and unavoidable. That raises the question – Doesn’t India have more appropriate measures to bring rogue social media content under control? In February 2021, the government released the IT Rules, which set stringent timelines for social media platforms to take down content that violates Indian law.

According to the rules, social media intermediaries must take down objectionable content, which includes:

defamatory, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, invasive of another‘s privacy, including bodily privacy, insulting or harassing on the basis of gender, libellous, racially or ethnically objectionable, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise inconsistent with or contrary to the laws in force – IT Rules 2021 (emphasis added)

In case such content is uploaded, social media platforms must take it down as soon as possible, and no later than 36 hours of getting an order from a court or government agency, the IT Rules mandate.

The constitutionality of the IT Rules, including clauses that mandate such takedowns, is currently being debated in various courts across the country. Even while they are in effect, however, government authorities are still resorting to internet shutdowns to curb hateful social media content, raising serious doubts about the effectiveness of the rules.

Also read:

Have something to add? Post your comment and gift someone a MediaNama subscription.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Written By

Reporter at MediaNama. Email: nishant@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

While the market reality of popular crypto-assets like Bitcoin may undergo little change, the same can't be said for stablecoins.

News

Bringing transactions related to crypto-assets within the tax net could make matters less fuzzy.

News

Loopholes in FEMA and the decentralised nature of crypto-assets point to a need for effective regulations.

News

The need of the hour is for lawmakers to understand the systems that are amplifying harmful content.

News

For drone delivery to become a reality, a permissive regulatory regime is a prerequisite.

You May Also Like

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ