Defamation Laws in India on Social Media

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Defamation Laws in India on Social Media

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Social media today is ruling the roost. It is a medium that is progressively growing in popularity amongst the masses owing to the convenience of interaction offered by the platform. Not just, social media has helped people showcase their hidden talent and creativity and pushed many average middle-class individuals to become heroes in their niche. But, there are different negative aspects too of the medium. One is the abuse of the platform to defame others. Some people indulge in creating, promoting, and sharing false and unnecessary statements about another individual or business entity. Commonly called trolls, this is a form of defamation on social media. To deal with trolls and cyber defamation, there are relevant defamation laws in India.

The gamut of defamation has been dealt with under Section 499 of the IPC. Defamation has two forms – slander or verbal defamation and libel or written defamation. Online defamation is a recent addition to the scope of the Law. In this case, the internet and smart devices like laptops and desktops defame a person or entity.

One important aspect of the Defamation Laws in India is that the mere vocal or written statement is not enough to prove defamation. It should be published to do so. In the case of cyber defamation, the statement or comment should be published on social media to get categorized as defamation.

Who is liable for defamation in India?

The responsibility of defamation lies entirely on the creator or the author of the content, online or offline. The service provider is also considered to be a party to the act pertaining to certain conditions. If the service provider modifies the content or initiates the publication of such defamatory material, it is held liable too. If the service provider acted merely as a facilitator, then it is not taken to be guilty. Further, the service provider needs to adhere to all the regulations passed by the Central Government in this context and must act promptly to remove such content on being notified by the government or an official agency.

Different laws on defamation in India

The different applicable laws in India that govern Defamation in India are:

• The Indian Penal Code, Section 499, includes defamation via electronic media.

• The Indian Penal Code, Section 469, has been modified by the IT Act, 2000. Electronic record forged was included in the scope of the Law.

• IT Act 2000; Section 66A also mentions offensive messages sent to a computer as a legal offense. However, the Supreme Court of India, the country’s apex court, refused to accept the ambiguous definition of ‘offensive’ and thereby the Section.

• IT Act, 2000, Section 79 offers a safety net to service providers and intermediaries against defamation.

Is it a good idea to rope in a legal firm for Employment Contracts in India?

Yes, it is an excellent way to stay updated on the latest laws and regulations in this context. Employment contracts help establish a sound working relationship between employees and employers. It is important that the contract is drawn in compliance with the corporate laws and follow fair practices for effective employment.