CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF CYBER DEFAMATION

INTRODUCTION

The world has changed dramatically as a result of the global technological revolution. Through multiple social media websites, the Internet Industry has simplified our lives significantly. Connecting or accessing knowledge is now a piece of cake. These structures are frequently designed for unsuitable purposes. There has been an increase in cyber defamation as a result of a jump in likes on social media pages.

The defamation of the media in cyberspace is known as cyber-defamation. Because defamation has both criminal and civil characteristics, plaintiffs are given legal remedies. The novel social media first appeared in the Indian sector, not just on the subcontinent, but all over the world. Because of the advancements, it will provide, the growth of the Internet will have a significant impact on political and economic planning. The ease with which people may obtain information on the internet has proven beneficial in several ways, but it comes with a price. As a result, cyber-defamation has played a role in numerous cases in cyberspace. Although cyber defamation is a new concept, the most common kind of defamation is harming an individual’s reputation. The claim must be made against the applicant, and the person making the charge must cast doubt on the applicant’s reliability. Defaming someone online using more successful and inventive methods is known as internet defamation. Defamation might take place via the Internet or on a computer. This is not just slander, but also a violation of electronic media usage guidelines.

Defamation occurs when someone makes an intentionally false statement that destroys a person’s credibility. The Internet is a low-cost and cost-effective mode of connectivity. More information can also be found on the internet. This framework is based on web servers, networks, and name servers, and it is governed by internet service providers or the organization’s system programmers, who may include measures restricting access to certain websites or uses.

In this case, operating illegally in infringing and intervening and faking aspects of individuals or groups through technological intelligence or an individual acting in an immoral way, with the intent of denigrating and maligning the reputation and popularity of individuals or institutions in achieving commercial advantage or competition or other intention which is objectionable or against rightful obeyance, leads to an offence that is being acted via cyber mechanisms which are, internet, website and other electronic ways and mechanisms.

CYBER DEFAMATION: THE INDIAN PERSPECTIVE 

Due to trolling, many individuals dismiss offensive comments on the internet. Avoidance, on the other hand, may not always be a viable option. You can file a lawsuit against the defamer who wrote/posted the false message, or you can request the social media site to remove it. Without a doubt, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter will bear the brunt of the losses. If a situation is particularly serious, you can report it to the Criminal Investigation Agency’s Cyber Fraud Section. For Internet offences, these prisons are open.

Within India, an individual may be guilty under both civil and criminal law:

Under the IPC

  • In Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, hate speech is addressed[1].
  • Section 500 of the IPC establishes penalties that include a two-year prison sentence and a monetary fine[2].
  • Falsification is possible under Section 469[3]. When someone fabricates a document or creates an account to undermine the credibility of another person. The penalty could include up to three years in prison as well as penalties.
  • Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code deals with the offence of illegal coercion through electronic means to harm one’s reputation in the group[4].

Under the IT Act

  • In 2015, the Supreme Court pulled down Section 66A of the IT Act (2000)[5]. The instructions on Punishment for sending offensive messages via a device, smartphone or tablet are listed in this section. The government was unable to justify the basic offence. This is how the government suppresses people’s freedom of expression. It was completely overturned by the Supreme Court in 2015.
  • If someone has been harmed as a result of cyber defamation, they should contact the cybercrime investigative committee. The Criminal Investigation Agency has jurisdiction over it.

 Our laws and customs are being harmed by our reliance on the Internet and the use of social media websites. The most difficult part is identifying the individual or persons who have harmed us. This is because some blogs are public, while others prefer to keep their identities hidden for their safety.

It is impossible to determine who made a statement over the Internet, whether it was posted on someone’s site or not. Unfortunately, tracing the writers of comment posts would be far more difficult because certain platforms do not require users to provide their true names. If they’re lying, those others will have erroneous facts as well. Identifying unauthorised immigrants is difficult. When a defamatory message is published on Facebook, it spreads throughout the network and is even shared and seen by several users, potentially harming someone.

CASE LAWS

  1. In the case of Steel Manufacturing Company Limited Ltd., the officers of the corporation have been prevented from acting inadequately with the complainant. The whole order by the High Court of Delhi is a major landmark since it is the foremost time that an Indian court claimed control in a case of cyberspace harassment and issued an ex-parte injunction restraining the accused from defaming the complainant. The accused was not found criminally responsible since he was not behaving as a result of his work, and so his acts were different[6]
  2. This happened to the Kalandi Charan Lenka who was constantly pursued and harassed. Also displayed mostly on the bricks of the boarding house where the complainant normally lived were two morphed nude images. The court found the defendant culpable for his conduct[7].
  3. In Rajiv Gadkari v. Depamala After getting a separation letter from her ex, Rajiv Gadkari filed a lawsuit against him for repeatedly bullying her by posting grotesque content and reviling her on the internet. A First Information Report has already been reported by the police and the monthly maintenance allegation by the wife has been valued at Rs. 75,000[8].

CONCLUSION

Along with significant power comes great accountability because of threats of power abuse. With the development of the media, contact is faster and easier. Such ease comes with the danger of a collision or misunderstanding. Slander lawsuits have become increasingly common in recent years, thanks to the Internet. While there are laws prohibiting the publication of defamatory information on the internet, most people are confused about whether such information is truly slanderous. On the internet, media sites have gone viral. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and others are becoming increasingly popular. Not only personal information and materials are shared on social media platforms, but also audio, photographs, short videos, and other media. Any photo, movie, or other objects can have tags applied to it. This is necessary to protect a sensitive issue due to privacy concerns. Otherwise, if left unchecked, cyber fraud can have a devastating impact on society.

At times, a line must be drawn between free expression and the use of free speech by certain persons. There is a need for more education and understanding regarding acceptable internet behaviour. Furthermore, the intermediaries should prevent defamatory posts on those sites produced by repeat criminals.

Author(s) Name: Anchal Meena (NMIMS, Navi Mumbai)

 Reference(s):

[1] Indian Penal Code 1860, s 499

[2] Indian Penal Code 1860, s 500

[3] Indian Penal Code 1860, s 469

[4] Indian Penal Code 1860, s 503

[5] IT Act 2000, s 66(A)

[6] Smc Pneumatics (India) Pvt. Ltd v. Shri Jogesh Kwatra (2001) Suit No. 1279, Delhi District Court

[7] Kalandi Charan Lenka v. the State of Odisha (2017), BLAPL No.7596 of 2016, Orissa High Court

[8] Rajiv Dinesh Gadkari vs Smt. Nilangi Rajiv Gadkari (2009), Bombay High Court