Where would we be without Facebook? Or Whatsapp or Instagram?
For so many of us, our lives have been transformed by social media.
It’s a great way to keep in touch, find a job, find the latest hot thing, or just to cheer ourselves up. And with the rise of smart devices, it’s just so easy to stay logged in, to check on what’s happening and to post our own thoughts and comments whenever we like.
These things have made us a “no filter” generation because it’s easy to post something before thinking it through. But you can land in hot water if a post is defamatory and you may end up losing your job, family, friends or even a bucket of money.
And in Nagaland, the surge in social media usage to voice ones thoughts has opened the doors to such dangers.
Members of traditional like this paper continue to engage in a learning process towards understanding the nuances of defamation law—and it’s a tricky line to tow to.
First of all, the defamation law in itself is dubious. It has come under scrutiny from various quarters the world over, wherever it is in place. While the logic for a law to protect a person’s or entity’s reputation has some merit; however the dangers of the same law turning repressive has strong arguments as well.
But the law remains, in India it does, and so most of us fall in line—or at least we try to.
And it’s not just traditional media. Defamation laws apply to social media as well. Yes they do!
This means that you can potentially be sued for defamation because of what you post on social media.
There have been several social media ‘incidents’ over the years in Nagaland, and a couple in recent months, which makes laying out this issue relevant.
These ‘incidents’ concern some not so savoury comments about government officers and their offices. They also include a viral release of pictures concerning a legislator of ours—something that is part hilarious in a monty python-ish kind of way, part saddening, and perhaps can drive a dialogue on ethics.
That’s as much as I’m going to say about those ‘incidents.’
But the fallout from these cases have tethered on the edge of lawsuits being filed against people on social media. And here lies the danger.
These decisions serve as a reminder to think before you post anything on social media, especially given the fact that the defamation law, as much as we disagree with, continues to thrive in the country.
If someone claims that you have defamed them, it opens the floodgates to a whole lot of hurt, financially and psychologically.
Social media is a great enabler. It’s fast, it’s easy. It has revolutionised the way we communicate and do business.
But it can also be a devastating pitfall.
Thoughts pop up in our head all the time, and social media has severely lowered our thought filtration process.
So I guess what I’m trying to say here is be careful!
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