A young Indian activist has been arrested and imprisoned in the Prakasam district. Her crime was apparently posting defamatory remarks on the social networking site Facebook. It comes after there were supposedly reforms to the legal system making arrests more difficult over trivial posts and comments online.
Indian people were rightly angry at the number os people who were being arrested merely for making critical remarks online. The activists is called Jaya Vindhyalaya and she has been arrested under the rather ridiculous Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. This act is infamous for it’s far reaching and rather vague stipulations – for example you can be sent to jail for up to three tears for sending an email or posting online a comment that
“causes annoyance or inconvenience”
Which of course is a ridiculous statement to appear on the statute book of any democratic nation. It’s unclear what the exact statement consist of but Facebook have been asked to remove them. It seems they are of a polictical nature and concern a local politician, she also alleged that she was being targeted by the legislator – Krishna Mohan. Ms Vinhyalaya is the president of the Andhra Pradesh district of the People’s Union of Civil Lilberties (PUCL).
The statute – section 66a is infamous for being abused by politicians and the police. It’s incredibly vague and the punishments are extremely severe in contrast with the rather relazed stipulations of what constitutes a crime. It has been descirbed as the ’politicians favourite bludgeon’. Other people have defined the phrase as offensive to mean – that it offends a particular politician or some digital mercenary, i.e not society in general
It’s certainly not a tool that the ordinary Indian citizen could use to protect themselves against slander or libel. The statute can only be effectively be invoked by those in positions of power, the ordinary citizen doesn’t have a chance. India want’s to portray itself as a technological hub but these ridiculous laws are eroding that position rapidly. Civil liberties organisations are frequently harrassed and targetted just like the PUCL. Many indians invest in security connections and route their internet browsing through a European country perhaps like a German proxy server – http://thenewproxies.com/german-proxy/. It is a sad state of affairs for a country that wishes to promote an equal and fair internet society.