Home » News » Twitter Lost Safe Harbour Immunity in India, FIR Registered In Loni Assault Case

The microblogging site Twitter has lost safe harbour immunity in India over the non-compliance to the new Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021. The social media giant and its executives will now be open to legal action for any kind of objectionable material posted on the platform.

The platform has now lost the “intermediary” status under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act. Consequently, the platform could be held criminally responsible for content on the platform.

Section 79 of Information Technology Act

Exemption from Liability of Intermediary in Certain Cases – An intermediary will be exempted from liability for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by it. It will be exempted if the function of the intermediary is limited to providing access to a communication system over which information made available by third parties is transmitted or temporarily stored or hosted.

The exemption is applicable when the intermediary does not initiate the transmission, select the receiver of the transmission and select or modify the information.

Ghaziabad Police Refuted Communal Angle, FIR Against Twitter, Journalists, and Congress Leaders

After losing the legal shield, an FIR has been filed by Ghaziabad police against Twitter Inc and eight others accusing them of spreading fake news. On Monday, a video of an elderly Muslim man identified as Abdul Samad Saifi went viral in which some goons could be seen brutally thrashing him. They also chopped off his beard while he was begging for mercy.

Different angles of the story are coming out. Ghaziabad police refuted the communal angle and also denied the allegations that he was made to chant slogans like “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram”. Ghaziabad police have charged Twitter and journalists for inciting communal sentiments.

The FIR has named Twitter INC, Twitter Communications India PVT, AltNews journalist Mohammad Zubair, journalist Rana Ayub, media organisation The Wire, Congress’s Salman Nizami, Maskoor Usmani and Shama Mohamed, and writer Saba Naqvi.

They are booked under IPC Section 153 (provocation for rioting), Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), Section 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings), Section 505 (mischief), Section 120B (criminal conspiracy), and Section 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code.

One Side of The Incident- Initially, it was alleged that the elderly man Abdul Samad Saifi was beaten, assaulted, and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram”. In the viral video, we could easily see the assailants chopping off Saifi’s beard. The man also alleged that the goons showed him some videos of attacks on Muslims to terrorise him.

Ghaziabad Police Denied Communal Angle – Ghaziabad police, who is officially investigating the matter has stated that there is no communal angle. The police communicated that it was an interpersonal matter. As per Ghaziabad police, Abdul Samad Saifi had given one of the assailants an amulet (Taveez) which allegedly affected them negatively.

Abdul Samad Saifi’s Family Challenged Ghaziabad Police Claims

Amid conflicting versions of the incident, family of the victim Abdul Samad Saifi has challenged Ghaziabad police claims that there was no communal angle. They even shared the copy of the FIR which clearly mentioned that Saifi had been subjected to communal taunts and threats. They claimed that police had ignored the major parts of the FIR. The family has also denied the claims about the amulet business. They submitted that no one in their family is involved in amulet business.

“Twitter Portrays Itself As Flag Bearer Free Speech”: Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Internet Freedom Foundation Cast Doubt Over “Intermediary Tag” Being Granted by Government

Final Notice to Twitter on June 5

“Twitter Inc. is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the Rules, failing which the exemption from liability available under section 79 of the IT Act, 2000 shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws of India,” Meity said.

Earlier, Twitter had expressed resistance to comply with the new IT rules citing the reason that it will be harmful to the fundamental rights to freedom and privacy for the people of India. “We will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law,” said a Twitter Spokesperson.

However, the platform made appointments on a contractual basis and apprised the government about the development recently. The appointments made on a contractual basis were not considered fully compliant with the new rules.

TM Krishna Moved Madras High Court against New IT Rules

On June 10, Madras High Court issued a notice to the Centre over a writ petition filed by eminent Carnatic vocalist and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee TM Krishna who has challenged the constitutional validity of Information Technology (Guidelines For Intermediaries And Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 notified on February 25.

“I submit that the impugned Rules offend my rights as an artist and a cultural commentator by both imposing a chilling effect on free speech and by impinging on my right to privacy.”

We welcome your comments & feedback

Related News

error: Content is protected !!