Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien Wednesday maintained in Rajya Sabha that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is following on Twitter certain trolls who write “venemous, misogynist” stuff besides issuing “murdereous threats” and wanted to know if government sends advisory to such people occupying high offices. Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, however, said no curbs can be imposed on anyone in a free country like India where there is freedom of speech and expression.
During the Question Hour, O’Brien said, “There are certain trolls on digital media who broadcast venemous messages, misogynist stuff and murderous threats on social media. The Prime Minister is following certain unknown people on digital media who broadcast such stuff, though Prime Minister is not writing anything wrong.
“Is the government sending an advisory to such high authorities not to follow such trolls who are speaking rape and misogynist threats under the guise of anonymity,” he said. Responding to this, Ahir said, “India is a free country and there is freedom of speech and expression. There is no provision as per our Constitution to impose any curbs on anyone.”
After the Minister told him that government cannot curb the freedom of speech and expression of anyone, O’Brien said “none of us want that to be curbed” but he expressed dissatisfaction with the reply. The Trinamool leader had made the same allegation last week also. During supplementaries to a question on recent attacks on journalists across the country, the Minister dismissed suggestions that such attacks were on the rise in the country.
He informed the House that 114 incidents of attacks on journalists were reported in 2014 and in 2015, 28 cases were registered in this regard. In his written reply, the Minister informed that data on attacks on media persons (under section 325, 326, 326A and 326 B IPC) is maintained by NCRB since 2014. He also said that such issues are dealt with by the state governments and that the Press Council of India has powers to look into such issues.
Ahir said except for Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, all other states are providing information in this regard. “In 2014, there were 63 cases of attacks on journalists in Uttar Pradesh. This year, there is only one such case registered. Whether all cases are registered, it does not look like. We have not received any report of attack on journalists from West Bengal. Except for two states, UP and West Bengal, all other states are informing us,” he said.