Don't lecture us on democracy: India to social media firms
Union information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told social media platforms on Saturday not to lecture India on "freedom of speech" and "democracy". The Union minister said that if such "profit-making" companies want to make money in India, they will have to abide by the Indian Constitution and the law of the land.
Addressing a lecture organised by the Symbiosis International University as part of the Symbiosis Golden Jubilee Lecture Series, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the new information technology (IT) guidelines are not related to the use of social media but deal with "misuse" and "abuse" of social media platforms. The lecture was being held on the topic of 'Social Media and Social Security and Crime Justice System Reforms: An Incomplete Agenda'.
Notably, the central government recently withdrew Twitter's 'intermediary platform' status due to non-compliance with new IT rules
Elaborating on the matter, the Union minister said that India's new IT laws are aimed at regulating content on social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter and make them more accountable by enabling a mechanism to swiftly remove posts on valid legal requests and share details on the originators of messages. He explained that the new rules require social media firms to appoint three officers based in the country for this purpose -- a grievance redressal officer, a compliance officer, and a nodal officer. No one is "asking for the moon" from these companies, the minister said.
"These are basic requirements," news agency PTI quoted Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad as saying. "Let me reiterate emphatically that India does not need a lecture on freedom of speech and democracy from a profit-making company that stays in America. India has free and fair elections, an independent judiciary, media, civil society. Here I am talking to students and taking questions, and this is true democracy. So these profit-making companies should not lecture us on democracy," he added.
"When Indian companies go to the US, do they not follow Indian law?" the Union minister asked. He pointed out that it is one thing to criticise the prime minister or any of the politicians, and it is another to not obey Indian laws at all. "If you want to do business in India, you have to follow India's Constitution and India's laws," the minister, who also holds the law and justice portfolio, said bluntly, adding that these social media firms have only three months to comply with the new IT rules.
(With inputs from PTI)