Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday, November 22 assured people that the modification to the Kerala Police Act will not be used in opposition to free speech or neutral journalism.
According to the new modification signed by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, these discovered responsible of spreading derogatory or defamatory content material by way of any means, together with the social media will be punished. A 3-year jail time period, a wonderful of Rs10,000 or each is what the accused will have to face.
Speaking to the media the Cheif Minister mentioned that social media platforms had been being misused rampantly and that the government was receiving a number of complaints because of which it needed to make a call.
“The State Government was repeatedly receiving complaints against the wide misuse of social media, especially by certain online channels. Even prominent public and cultural figures had made such complaints. They have brought to the notice of the Government instances where inhuman and vile cyber attacks were carried out by some in the guise of journalism and how it even harmed the family lives of many. It has often turned into targeted attacks using untruths and even sleazy content. Many families are bearing the consequences of such attacks,” mentioned Kerala CM.
Vijayan mentioned the state is certain to guard the freedom and dignity of a person, however no motion can be taken in opposition to the media or critics until they do not violate the Constitution and keep inside limits.
“Along with ensuring the freedom of the press, the Government also has the responsibility of upholding a citizen’s individual freedom and his/her dignity as enshrined in the Constitution. The popular idea that one’s freedom ends where the other’s nose begins needs to be respected. One has the liberty to swing one’s fist, but it ends where the other`s nose begins. However, there have been instances of this idea being repeatedly violated,” mentioned Kerala CM.
“In the name of the freedom of the press, individual freedom cannot be violated and similarly, in the name of individual freedom, the freedom of the press cannot be violated. The government is duty-bound to protect both. It is in this context that even at the international level measures are being put in place against the infringement of personal dignity. The amendment in the Kerala Police Act is only those that are in tune with such measures,” he added.
Meanwhile, the opposition alleges that the modification is draconian and could possibly be used to suppress freedom of speech, gag the media and silence critics of the government.
(With company inputs)