The government regularly interacts with social media companies on matters including accountability of such platforms and safety of users, and there are no plans at present to block any social media platforms in the country, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
While some users do misuse social media platforms to create hate and ill will among the people of the country, no social media platform or any other intermediary can destroy India’s democracy, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.
“At present, the government has no plan to block any social media platform in the country,” he added.
The minister said the government receives various grievances from users about hate content on social media platforms and responds to them in an appropriate way.
The government regularly interacts with social media intermediaries on various issues, including issuing advisories to make these intermediaries safe and accountable to users, he added.
“Indian democracy has its bedrock in its Constitution and constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights for every citizen. No social media platform or any other intermediary can destroy our democracy,” Chandrasekhar emphasised.
He stated that under the provision of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act 2000, the government blocks malicious online content, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states or public order.
In response to a question on whether the government proposes to regularise social media in the country, Chandrasekhar said policies are aimed at ensuring a fair, open and trusted internet.
“Government policies are aimed to ensure free, fair, open and trusted Internet, and intermediaries are allowed to operate in the country as long as they follow applicable laws including Information Technology (IT) Act 2000 and Rules,” he said.
Chandrasekhar said the electronics and IT ministry has invoked the provisions of Section 69A of the IT Act to block certain apps following the due process specified in the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rule, 2009.
It has been the endeavour of the government to put in place an enabling and investor-friendly policy environment in the country, he further said.