Section 66A

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Blog   |   India, Internet

India's landmark online speech ruling is step toward greater press freedom

Aseem Trivedi speaks to the media after his arrest in 2012. Charges against the cartoonist have been dropped after India overturned part of its Information Technology Act. (Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)

In an historic decision, India's Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down part of a law used to silence criticism and free expression. While this marks a pivotal victory that has been welcomed in many quarters, many challenges remain for press freedom in the country.

Statements   |   India

CPJ welcomes Indian Supreme Court decision protecting online speech

Manila, March 24, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the judgment by the Indian Supreme Court today that struck down as unconstitutional Section 66A of the country's Information Technology Act. Section 66A criminalized, among other types of speech, the transmission of "grossly offensive" information, as well as information for the purpose of causing "annoyance" or "inconvenience," according to reports. Individuals convicted under the provision faced up to three years in prison. The court held that Section 66A "arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invades the right of free speech" and that upholding it would lead to a "total" chilling effect on free expression.

Blog   |   India, Internet

Worrisome curbs on free speech emerge since Modi's election

Earlier this month, Indian authorities arrested seven people for publishing a photo of India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, alongside figures such as George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, and Adolf Hitler, under the headline, "Negative Faces." The seven, who could face lengthy prison terms if convicted, are but the latest Indians facing criminal proceedings for their critical views of Modi, a trend that is raising concerns about freedom of expression and press freedom under India's new leadership.

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