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Centre’s move to regulate social media, OTT platforms is threat to democracy: Satej Patil

Mumbai: Maharashtra Minister of State for Home, Housing, Transport, IT, Parliamentary Affairs Satej Patil has criticised the Union Government’s move to regulate social media platforms and over-the-top (OTT) saying that it was nothing but infringing the privacy of individuals and free speech under the Constitution.

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

He further said that some bureaucrats passing the judgement on what needs to be published and what not on any media platform is nothing but an attack on the freedom of the press in India. “Such orders will not have any standing in court of law,” he said.

Taking a cue from a Delhi court’s recent order on granting bail to climate activist Disha Ravi for allegedly editing a social media material or toolkit on the ongoing farmers’ protest, the senior Congress leader from Kolhapur said that the whole episode is nothing but an act to suppress the voice of those who are exercising their freedom to speech.

The Centre on Thursday announced sweeping regulations for social media firms such as Facebook and Twitter as well as OTT players such as 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 the security and sovereignty of the country.

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