Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra
Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Home minister Madhya Pradesh Narottam Mishra has clarified that the state government’s order issued on Wednesday to take action on objectionable contents in cyber space is not a media gag and that action will be taken against platforms, not individual persons.

Talking to journalists on Thursday the home minister said, “Media in Madhya Pradesh is completely free. The present IT Act is for (action against) those who spread rumuors, promote terrorism, want to draw attention by creating sensationalism and indulge in illegal activities. And action in such cases will be taken against the platform concerned, not individual persons.”

For instance, he added, “If any comment is posted in Facebook which is controversial, objectionable and promotes communalism it’s imperative on it (Facebook) to monitor such posts. We have also constituted different cells. If there are posts (on social media and other platforms) related to terrorist activities or other forms of violence the nodal officer in police headquarters (PHQ) will inform Home department about the same and the latter will take action under relevant sections of IT Act.”

Likewise, he said, there would be different nodal officers in woman and child development department, health department, labour department etc who would keep watch on contents (in the cyber space)

Notably, Congress lambasted the state government on Wednesday after the order was issued by the home department blaming the government for issuing, what the party said, a gag order against media.

As per the home department’s order the state government is now empowered to issue notices to the concerned on finding objectionable contents in cyber space and remove the same. Secretary Home was appointed as the nodal officer to implement the order.

The order issued had the reference of central government’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, order dated January, 1, 2021.

As per the order contents on which action will be taken include such contents which promote sexual exploitation of children, terrorist activities, illegal sale of arms, violence, crimes related to untouchability (prevention of atrocity on SC/ST), suicide, cyber crime, rumours and child marriage.

The objectionable contents also include propagation of rumours, distortion of Indian map, financial fraud, cruelty against animals, misleading campaign on medicines, online sale of crackers etc. on getting information in prescribed format regarding the same the secretary home can issue notices to agencies/intermediaries of online platforms.

Intermediaries include social media companies, websites, mobile apps, e-commerce websites, online aggregators, internet service providers, web hosting providers etc.

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