Centre’s social media policy dictatorial, need to oppose: Maharashtra minister

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A Maharashtra minister on Saturday opposed the central government’s regulations for social media platforms and over-the-top (OTT) players, terming them as “dictatorial” and a “threat” to the democracy, reported the Press Trust of India.

The Minister of State for IT, Satej Patil, also said these regulations need to be opposed strongly as they infringe the privacy of individuals and free speech given by the Constitution.

“This move by the Centre needs to be fought tooth and nail. Such dictatorial regulations will not be accepted by the people of this democratic country,” he said.

Some bureaucrats deciding on what needs to be published and what not on any media platform is nothing but an attack on the freedom of press in India, Patil added.

“Such orders will not have any standing in the court of law,” he said.

Talking about the arrest of activist Disha Ravi for her alleged involvement in sharing a “toolkit” on social media related to the farmers’ protest, the senior Congress leader from Kolhapur said the entire episode was an act to suppress the voice of those who are exercising their freedom to speech.

A Delhi court recently granted bail to the activist.

The Centre on February 25 announced sweeping regulations for social media firms, such as Facebook and Twitter as well as OTT players like Netflix, requiring them to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and setting up a complaint redressal mechanism with an officer being based in the country.

The regulations also make it mandatory for platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp to identify the originator of a message that authorities consider to be anti-national and against security and sovereignty of the country.

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