There is huge concern among the public that the Information Technology Act of 2000 will spoil the right to voice one’s opinion through social media. With the development of this platform, websites such as Facebook and Twitter have given new avenues to the common man to express their opinion and criticise the government, political parties, their strategies, leaders, and what not. Obviously this creates uneasiness for a major group of politicians and lawmakers. The said act has enough clauses which allow taking action against an individual for posting content that contains insult or offence. Now the definitions of the italicised terms are up to the discretion of the party who feels the heat. This makes the law apparently very weak.
I agree that the nature of the social media sites demands one to show maturity in criticism to avoid undesirable results. But such an unclear law may enable one to take legal action against anybody – from laypersons to cartoonists, bloggers, caricaturists, columnists, and writers. In other words, this means enforcing a strict ban on the right to express one’s opinion. Even the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971 contains a clause that welcomes comments which express disapprobation or criticism of the constitution, the national flag, or any measures of the government, suggesting an amendment or an alteration. Such comments do not constitute an offence. It goes without further saying that the Information Technology Act too should contain such a clause. I support the right to voice one’s opinion in a sensible and responsible manner. I don’t think the italicised words need detailed definitions.