Notice to X for removal of BJP’s animated clip on K’taka CEO’s recommendation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Notice to X for removal of BJP’s animated clip on K’taka CEO’s recommendation

May 07, 2024 02:16 PM IST

The Karnataka chief electoral officer’s (CEO) office had written to the Election Commission on May 5, asking the poll panel to instruct X to take down the post in question

The Karnataka Police sent a notice to X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday directing it to remove the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) animated clip’s depiction of communities that the party’s Karnataka’s official account had posted on May 4 for violating the Representation of People Act, a copy of which HT has seen.

The 17-second animated video was posted at 5:23pm on May 4. (Representative file photo)
The 17-second animated video was posted at 5:23pm on May 4. (Representative file photo)

“Further your attention is drawn towards the e-mail communication of Election Commission [dated May 5, 2024]… Election Commission has directed to remove the alleged content from internet as it violates Model Code of Conduct (MCC) enforced during Lok Sabha Elections 2024,” the notice said.

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The Karnataka chief electoral officer’s (CEO) office had written to the Election Commission on May 5, asking the poll panel to instruct X to take down the post in question, joint CEO Survasen AV said.

It had simultaneously also referred the matter to the superintendent of police, cyber crime division, CID, under Section 79(3)(b) of the IT Act.

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“We sent it to the state nodal agency, which is SP, CID, Cyber Crime division under Section 79(3)(b) according to the government order issued by the Karnataka government. We sent it to the EC as well. Both were sent on May 5. We [the CEO’s office] don’t talk to X (formerly Twitter) directly. As per our handbook, we cannot talk to the social media platforms directly,” he said.

The May 5 notice was sent by the superintendent of police, cyber crime division, crime investigation department, Bengaluru, who was appointed as the state nodal officer for the state of Karnataka under Section 79(3)(b) of the IT Act through a state government order on February 21, 2024.

Under this section and rule 3(1)(d) of the IT Rules, the Karnataka government had designated the SP, cyber crime division, CID; DCP (Crime); and District SP as nodal officers and designated officers “with regard to removal of Unlawful Content in Cyber Space”.

Under the Voluntary Code of Ethics (VCE) 2019 that most social media platforms are signatories to, only the ECI can notify the platforms of violations of Representation of People Act and other electoral laws, and these “valid legal orders will be acknowledged and/or processed within 3 hours for violations reported under Section 126”.

Section 126 of the RPA prohibits public meetings during a period of 48 hours ending with an hour fixed for conclusion of poll.

“All other valid legal requests will be acted upon expeditiously by the Participants, based on the nature of reported violation,” the VCE says.

“It [communication with X] is not in our hand. We actually report to ECI and ECI will talk to the concerned Meta, Google or Twitter. …Every day, we send emails to ECI about social media. For print and TV, we talk to them directly. We cannot do that for social media… The email was sent to ECI,” Jadiyappa Gedlagatti, media officer for CEO Karnataka, said.

The 17-second animated video was posted by @BJP4Karnataka at 5:23pm on May 4. As of 2pm on May 7, this tweet on X had more than 9.2 million views.

At the time of publication, the video was still available.

Congress had filed a first information report (FIR) with Bengaluru Police on May 5 against the BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya, party president JP Nadda and Karnataka party president and MLA BY Vijayendra under Section 125 (Promoting enmity between classes in connection with election) of the Representation of People Act, and Section 505(2) (Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of the IPC.

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