Impact of Free Speech on the Internet under Article 19

This blog is written by Tushti of Lovely professional university, Punjab. This blog presents a brief study on the impact of free speech on internet covering all its dimensions.  

Introduction

In today’s era internet is playing a very censorious and important role to play. We cannot think once to have a day without using the internet. Interning is always the running back in the mind of every individual. A person is ready to profess to live 365 days in a room only if he would be provided with basic amenities and a powerful internet connection. This shows the obsession of a human towards the usage of the internet. One can perform any activity or work such as reading journals, doing face times, and purchasing groceries and nowadays man can also carry work from home.

The Internet has become an imperative part of one’s life. The consumption of data has increased highly over time. It was a time of epoch when people used to spend only 20-30 MB for a whole month. In those days access to the internet was very limited and data packs cost too pricey. There was no provision for watching videos or anything. Social media apps do exist at that time but their scope was very limited. Nobody could have imagined that one day we would be able to get everything with just one click. It influenced our life from dawn until dusk. A subscription to Amazon prime will deliver all your groceries, smartphones, clothing and whatnot, within the next few hours.

Impact

Article 19 of the Indian constitution provides the right to freedom and guarantees these Individual rights. It gives the assurance of freedom of speech and expression. This law finds its root in the hate speech law passed by the British administration under section 295 (A) to safeguard Muslims from hate speech. India is considered to be the first country to constitute the India bill 1895 for containing the following provision of free speech and expression. Every citizen was given the right to express one’s thoughts in writing and get them published without the fright of censure but they were required to answer for committing the same in the exercise of this right.

The Internet provided a gigantic space for people to demonstrate their thoughts and expression freely on any social networking site. A person can express his thoughts by sitting in any part of the world only if he has access to the internet. Anyone who wants to criticize or condemn was allowed to do so through the internet. The Internet is one of the elements which helps people to share its view on any topic. The government was able to escalate the news within a few seconds only and if they wanted any suggestion or opinion, they publish the bill in their official gazette from where the public can suggest their views or solutions for the better implementation of the law. In case of emergencies, public authorities make use of the internet to spread information quickly so that no harm should be made to people and property.

In the olden days, the aggrieved person has to go through a very long procedure just to get his problem to the notice but now with the help of the internet, one simple publication of the problem on the internet will bring the authorities on their toes. A number of states have introduced the service of E-FIR where the aggrieved person has no need to go to the police station. He can register a complaint on the website and the authorities will look into it. The most eminent way of expressing thoughts on the internet is through social media. Their rate is colossal while comparison with Tv and radio channels. They serve as an interactive platform in which individuals, as well as communities, are connected. But people have started using it without any limitations and boundaries. They use abusive and slack language targeting teachers, women, celebrities, etc.

The positive impact of the internet on freedom of speech and expression

  • It provides great coverage and expands the reach of opinions and beliefs. The person sitting in Canada can share his views with a person sitting in India.
  • It has fastened the process of spreading the news to the general public and apprise about upcoming dangers.
  • Anyone can send an instant message through any social media app and does not have to wait to send or receive letters from one side to another.
  • It helps in engaging and providing people with numerous job opportunities.

 Negative impact of the internet on freedom of speech and expression

  • The spread of fake news is one of the most devasting impacts that the internet is done on personal expression.
  • Unlimited freedom is also an issue for a healthy democracy.
  • Smutty material is frequent which downgrades the level of the impact made on freedom of speech.
  • There is bounded regulation of free speech on the internet.

Conclusion

The internet is a momentous and significant aspect of communication in the present time and people are permitted to exercise their freedom of expression with the help of this resource but at the same time, the negative aspect of this media must be dealt with in a logical manner.

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