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Internal Security

Global Laws on Fake News

  • 26 Sep 2019
  • 5 min read

Recently, the Supreme Court of India has asked the Central government to frame guidelines on social media to control the spread of fake news. The directive came in the wake of growing incidents of violence fuelled by online rumours and fake videos.

Laws and Regulations to Curb Fake News in India

There are various regulations in India mentioned in different Indian laws like Section 66 in The Information Technology Act, 2000, Civil or Criminal Case for Defamation, Indian Penal Code, etc. that restrict the spread of fake news throughout the nation.

Global Laws dealing with Fake News

  • Malaysia
    • Malaysia was among the first countries to pass an anti-fake news law in the year 2018.
    • In Malaysia, spreading fake news draws a fine of 500,000 Malaysian ringgits (Rs 85 lakh) or up to six years of imprisonment.
  • European Union
    • In April 2019, the Council of the European Union passed directives to change copyright laws and hold online platforms responsible for infringements by its users.
    • The law protects intellectual property that is frequently stolen and misused online.
    • The law applies to social media, internet service providers and search engines.
  • Singapore
    • A draft law proposes jail term of up to 10 years for those who spread online falsehoods to harm the public interest.
    • Social media sites face fines of up to S$1 million (Rs 5 crore) for failing to act against such content.
    • There, individuals can also be asked to alter or remove their posts and could be fined up to S$20,000 (Rs 10 lakh) and imprisoned for a period ranging up to 12 months if they fail to comply.
  • Germany
    • Germany’s NetzDG applies to companies with more than two million registered users in the country.
    • The law requires companies to review complaints about content and remove anything illegal within 24 hours.
    • Individuals face fines of up to €5m (Rs 40 crore) and corporations up to €50m (Rs 400 crore) for failing to comply.
  • Australia
    • A law was passed in Australia earlier this year that introduced penalties up to 10% of a company’s turnover and up to three years in prison for tech executives for failing to remove social media content depicting terrorism, murder, rape or other serious crimes.
    • Failure to comply draws fines of up to A$168,000 (Rs 80 lakh) for individuals or A$840,000 (Rs 4 crore) for corporations.
  • France
    • In October 2018, France passed two anti-fake news laws following allegations of Russian interference in the 2017 presidential election.
    • The laws allow the candidates and political parties to seek court injunctions to prevent the publication of false information.
    • It gives the French broadcasting authority the power to take off the air any network spreading misinformation throughout the country.
  • Russia
    • In 2019 law punishing the individuals and companies for spreading fake news and information that disrespects the state was passed in Russia.
    • Publications found to spread fake news face fines of up to 1.5 million rubles (Rs 16 lakh).
    • Also, insulting state symbols and authorities draw fines of up to 300,000 rubles (Rs 3 lakh) and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.
  • China
    • China has blocked most of the social media sites and internet services like Twitter, Google, and WhatsApp in the country.
    • The country has thousands of cyber police personnel who monitor social media and screen content the government considers politically sensitive.
      • The government outright censors certain content, such as references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident.
  • Recently, BBC news conducted the Trusted News Summit globally bringing together senior figures from major global technology firms and publishing, to fight the disinformation present over different media platforms.
    • The summit agreed to work towards a joint ‘Online Social Media Education Campaign’ to create and spread awareness regarding fake news present on different social media platforms.

Source: TOI

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