expression
source: https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/news-2015/-/asset_publisher/9k8wkRrYhB8C/content/freedom-of-expression-still-a-precondition-for-democracy-

Introduction

Today’s world has been taken over by the internet. Almost all our work revolves around the use of the internet whether it be any official work, educational purpose, or getting updated through the news. We are totally dependent on it and it has also simplified our living. This has been a tool that connects people all around the world. It has also helped us by providing the use of entertaining app available on the internet. Social media provides grounds for sharing of information, experiences, and perspectives throughout community-oriented websites, is becoming increasingly significant in our online world.

Nowadays the whole world is suffering from a dangerous disease which has caused an emergency situation in almost all over the world. This crisis which the whole world as well as our country is facing due to the rapid and seemingly uncontrollable spread of coronavirus has caused extreme damages on the multiple fronts. After the alarming condition, World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a “Pandemic”, which has affected around 1 crore and claimed around 5 lakhs lives all over the world.

The fight between Youtube and Tik-Tok

When our country is struggling to get rid of this epidemic disease i.e. COVID-19, there arises a new problem YouTube vs Tik-Tok. This has been a never-ending war on the internet where the content creator of each platform started roasting each other. Where our country’s policymaker is on their way to make the virtual world more secure, reliable, and accountable for customers; there we could find a digital battle aroused which has created hatred among each other. Initially, it all started when a popular Tik-Tok star Faisal Siddique made a video where he threw an acid [water] on a woman causing scars and bruise on her face.

Then the whole fiasco started when a popular Youtuber Carry Minati (real name Ajay Negar) who is known for creating funny videos and roasting the people in his channel created a spoof video name “YouTube vs Tik-Tok-The End Game” to roast Amir Siddique another popular Tik-Tok star. Gradually this video has reached its pinnacle by becoming the fastest 2 million liked videos and were viewed by 78 million people in India. But however, the streaming application had to delete the video due to many reports of defaming an individual.

This has enlarged the fans of Carry Minati starting a trend called #JusticeForCarry. Twitter was flooded with comments against the ban of the Tik-Tok app and some popular stars. Many users and non-user of Tik-Tok started rating the app with one star and started giving negative reviews in google play store which resulted in the decrease of star from 4.7 to 1.3 in a few days. In order to rescue this controversial Chinese application, the tech giant, Google had removed around 8 million bad and negative reviews from the play store.

India’s stand on representative democracy

India has been a “Representative Democracy”. This means every citizen can express themselves freely. Criticism and condemnation are part and parcel of democracy. Freedom of expression is a basic human right and the bulwark of a democratic government. This freedom is essential for the proper functioning of democracy.

Liberty is only possible with Freedom of speech and expression. It opens up-channel for free discussion of issues through any medium. That includes by word of mouth, writing, printing, pictures, films, movies, etc. Freedom of expression which is a fundamental right enables the free exchange of ideas, opinions, and information and thus allows members of society to form their own opinions on issues of public importance.

The phrase ‘speech and expression’ used in 19(1) (a) has a broad connotation. Article 19(1) (a) also covers the right to paint, sing, dance, or to write poetry or literature. This is because the common basic characteristic of all these activities is freedom of speech and expression.[1] The expression “freedom of speech and expression” includes the right to communicate it through any available media whether it be print or electronic or audio-visual, such as advertisement, movie, article or speech, etc. Also, this freedom allows us to communicate and circulate one’s view or opinion without any interference.

Final Thoughts

In the above scenario, the act of deleting 8 million reviews violates the fundamental right of freedom to expression. Here the people have the right to express their opinion whatever they feel. Being in a country like India which is the largest democratic country in the world, any criticism or negative comment or opinion should be accepted. This will help in the proper functioning of any organization.

According to Google Review Policy, there is no such provision that says negative reviews on any application to be deleted. If any fake account is giving negative reviews they can flag that review and calmly deal with it. Everything has both sides good as well as the bad side. Sometimes it is necessary to accept the bad to get the good out of it. So instead of fighting with each other we must support and respect each other. Deleting or omitting someone’s views is not a permanent solution and is against the principle of democracy. If we start accepting our bad sides, someday we will be at great heights.


Author: Nitish Kumar Lenka


Reference 

[1] Makena Gandhi v. UOI, AIR 1978 SC 597, Indian Hotel and Restaurants v. The State Of Maharashtra, 2006 (3) Bom CR 705

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