The new amendment made to the Kerala Police Law will not be used against freedom of expression: Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Sunday that the Kerala Police Law will not be used in any way against free speech or impartial journalism and that apprehensions to the contrary are unfounded.
“The State Government was receiving repeated complaints about the extensive misuse of social networks, especially by certain online channels. Even prominent public and cultural personalities have filed such complaints. They have brought to the attention of the Government cases in which some carried out inhumane and vile cyberattacks under the guise of journalism and how these even damaged the family life of many. It has often turned into targeted attacks using falsehoods and even sordid content. Many families are bearing the consequences of such attacks, ”Vijayan said, according to the ANI news agency.
He added that the use of personal likes or dislikes, political or non-political interests that could disturb the climate of peace and that are used to settle accounts for revenge cannot be allowed.
“In several cases, these cyberattacks have caused heartbreaking tragedies. Attacks that are carried out without listening to the side of those who are being attacked do not fall under the category of journalism. They are simply personal revenge in action. Many times, monetary interests are behind such devious designs, “he added.
Vijayan further said that, in addition to guaranteeing freedom of the press, the government also has the responsibility to defend the individual freedom of a citizen and his dignity enshrined in the Constitution.
The popular idea that one’s freedom ends where the other’s nose begins needs to be respected. One is free to move the fist, but it ends where the other’s nose begins. However, there have been cases where this idea has been repeatedly violated, ”he added.
Stating that in the name of freedom of the press, individual freedom cannot be violated, Vijayan said that in the name of individual freedom, freedom of the press cannot be violated.
“The government has a duty to protect both. It is in this context that, even at the international level, measures are being taken against the violation of personal dignity. The amendment in Kerala Police Law is only for those who are in tune with such measures, “he added.
The Kerala CM said that respect and dignity of a person are essential in modern society, adding that it also has constitutional validity.
“The government has the responsibility to guarantee it. In general, traditional media operate within these constitutional limits. However, certain online media have little regard for such constitutional provisions and behave as if anything goes, creating an atmosphere of anarchy. This will alter our social order and cannot be allowed, ”he added.
“Within the contours of our Constitution and the legal framework, everyone has the right to make the loudest criticisms. The new amendment will not hinder that freedom in any way. If viewed in a positive light, no one can perceive a violation of freedom in him. Only those who think that it is their freedom to wreak havoc on the lives of others can see this as an affront to their freedom. And that is not something that modern society would allow anywhere in the world, ”said the Kerala CM.
He further added: “Personal defamation and attack on dignity have even resulted in suicides and have been brought to the attention of the Government by those in responsible positions. In such circumstances, the government cannot simply ignore it. Our effort to ensure the respect and dignity of each individual should not generate apprehension in the minds of the media and the general public. The amendment only has clauses that are in line with the sections that guarantee freedom of the press and individual freedom ”.
Vijayan said the amendment has also been introduced in the context of cyberattacks faced by women and transgender people, adding that the government will certainly consider all the creative opinions and suggestions that are being issued regarding this amendment.
Amid resistance from opposition parties, Kerala Governor Arif Muhammad Khan signed the ordinance amending the Kerala Police Law.
The law aims to stop the harassment, insult or dishonor of people through any content and its circulation through any means of communication. Violators will receive a three-year sentence / penalty of Rs 10,000 or both.
(With contributions from ANI)