Internet Current Affairs - 2019
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The UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in association with Home Office have released the Online Harms White Paper.
The White paper sets out a programme of action to tackle content or activity that harms individual users, particularly children, or threatens our way of life in the UK, either by undermining national security or by undermining our shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities to foster integration. Public consultation has been called on for the white paper.
Suggestions Made in the White Paper
- Establishing an independent regulator that can write a “code of practice” for social networks and internet companies.
- Giving the regulator enforcement powers including the ability to fine companies that break the rules.
- Considering additional enforcement powers such as the ability to fine company executives and force internet service providers to block sites that break the rules.
The white paper covers a range of issues that are clearly defined in law such as spreading terrorist content, child sex abuse, so-called revenge pornography, hate crimes, harassment and the sale of illegal goods together with harmful behaviour that has a less clear legal definition such as cyber-bullying, trolling and the spread of fake news and disinformation.
The Committee headed Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha has submitted the report on revisiting the section 126 of the Representation of the People Act. The committee had nine officers from the Election Commission and one nominated member each from I&B Ministry, Law Ministry, IT Ministry, National Broadcasters Association and Press Council of India.
Recommendations of the Committee
The committee has made the following recommendations:
- Amendment to the Model Code of Conduct to ensure that political parties release their manifesto at least 72 hours before voting ends in the first phase of polls.
- The provision of election silence, which prohibits any form of poll campaign in the last 48 hours leading up to voting to be extended to cover print and social media, internet, cable channels and online version of print media.
- Social media platforms should work with the EC to evolve a mechanism by which the latter can flag content violating electoral law and social media sites can take it down as soon as possible.
- EC should issue directions to private cable TV channels to follow NBSA guidelines for election broadcasts during the poll period.
The recommendations when implemented will help in minimizing the possible interference of activities which aim at indirectly influencing voters during the valuable silence period of 48 hours provided to them.
Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act
Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act Prohibits public meetings during period of forty-eight hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of the poll.
Tags: cable channels • Deputy Election Commissioner • election silence • Internet • Model Code of Conduct • NBSA • Representation of the People Act • Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act • Social Media • Umesh Sinha