WhatsApp Group Admin Gets Arrested over Objectionable Content!
Technology is a double-edged sword. So are the social networking and messaging platforms, which can be a boon or a bane. There have been innumerable cases where people have been arrested for sharing objectionable content. For e.g. the popular case of the cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and Shaheen Dhada the girl who voiced her opinion on the bandh after Bal Thackeray’s death.
The problem that lies in today’s times is the incompetency of the law and people to understand the very definition of the term ‘objectionable content’. What is needed today is a change, and understanding of the times we live in. There has to be a clear definition of terms like voicing opinions and promoting anarchy.
The recent incident where an administrator of a WhatsApp group along with three others have been arrested in Latur district in Maharashtra last week over objectionable content of videos of cow slaughtering and criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes us think about how we still fail to understand the right thing to do in such situations.
A Press Trust of India report said that the four were arrested by the police under sections 153 of the IPC (promoting enmity and ill will), section 34 and section 67 of IT Act, 2000. Section 67 of the IT Act deals with obscene content transmitted in electronic media and section 34 deals with the roles of Certifying Authorities.
According to reports the main culprit on whom the entire responsibility of this incident has been put is the administrator of the group. But nobody is able to justify this?
Dhanya Menon, cyber security expert says, “Like how a principal is in charge of whatever happens in a school, the administrator is responsible for content in the group,” she contends. “The administrator is the one who creates the group and adds or removes members, so he or she should know who is being added and what content the members may share.” She adds that if one is unsure of the group members or the content going to be shared, that person has the option to simply exit the group. Menon also says that till specific legislation on the subject is brought in, holding the admin responsible makes sense.”
But why is the administrator responsible, just because he is the one who created the group it does not mean that he is also liable for all the content that has been shared on the group. There are also cases where the admin who has created the group and left it, then WhatsApp randomly assigns the power of the admin to any of the group member. Then in this situation is the admin who has just got the admin rights responsible?
If this is the case, then we all need to beware being an admin of any of the WhatsApp groups. Who knows you might be held liable for some group member sharing ‘objectionable’ content. Though there are various aspects to this.
According to me, firstly there should be a clear definition of ‘objectionable’ content. Then when there is sharing of this content, the only person who should be held guilty for it should be the one who has shared it and the one who has made it.
WhatsApp is an intricate part of our day-to-day life. Which started as a free messaging app and now ruling and ruining our life? Its high time people realize that it is very easy to share any video on WhatsApp without a second thought, but now you never know when you might end up pressing the wrong nerve.
So be very alert and conscious while sharing videos. For now this is the only way to stay away from unwanted trouble until we find a concrete solution to this problem other than arresting the group admins.