India Bans TikTok: 3 Reasons Why This Is Illogical; And One Feasible Solution
The Internet has tons and tons of content on how to make a bomb, how to commit suicide and how to kill another person without leaving a fragment of any trace.
Does this mean that the Internet should be banned, forever?
If not, then why to single out TikTok?
Madras High Court Bans TikTok
TikTok is a simple app, wherein users can lip-sync popular videos, and create short funny clips. These can be Bollywood songs, comedy acts, song videos, or general dialogues. More than 100 million Indians have downloaded the app, and there are between 30–40 million active users in India.
Today, we reported that Madras High Court has banned TikTok app, based on a petition by Muthu Kumar, a Madurai based senior lawyer.
The Bench at the Madras Court ruled: “By becoming addicted to Tik Tok App., and similar Apps., or cyber games, the future of the youngsters and mindset of the children are spoiled.“
Media too has been banned from using any TikTok videos, for any purpose.
The Court directed Centre to ensure that no one is able to download TikTok app in India.
Here are three reasons why this ban of TikTok by Madras High Court:
Violation Of Section 79 of the IT Act
Section 79 of the Information Technology Act in India provides protection to online mediums and platforms from lawsuits and defamation.
For example, Facebook or Whatsapp owners and managers cannot be held accountable for any content or message posted on their platform.
Hence, by this logic, banning TikTok in India due to the content shared on the platform is completely illogical and illegal. TikTok, as an online platform, can challenge this order.
The Ban Is Discriminatory
As per the ruling of the Madras Court, only downloading of TikTok app has been banned. Hence, those 100 million users who have already downloaded the app can use it, as they please. Only the new users of this app are banned. On several levels, this is pure discrimination between existing and new users.
Besides this, this ban is also discriminatory against Google and Apple, which provide a platform for users to download these apps. First of all, there exist no laws in India which can prevent Google and Apple and any other mobile apps platform from allowing TikTok for Indian users.
Curtailing Freedom of Expression
The app basically empowers users to express themselves, via videos and lip-syncing and acting. It’s a platform for expression, and what we see is modern art. Yes, art can be disturbing at time, as the basic nature, the very process of creating art is a disruption. But here, due to a single-minded view of few Judges, this wonderful platform to express oneself has been banned. This is unfair for both the active users of TikTok, and for those who used the platform to express themselves.
In 2015, a bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and R.F. Nariman in the Supreme Court had scrapped Section 66A, as it violated Freedom of Expression. Previously, this draconian act was used to arrest and intimidate anyone, who said something wrong/bad online, which was termed as offensive.
While abolishing this act, the bench had said, “what is grossly offensive to you, may not be grossly offensive to me and it is a vague term.. Highly trained judicial minds (judges of the UK courts) came to different conclusions by using the same test applied to judge as to what is grossly offensive and what is offensive,”
If we apply the same logic to the Madras HC judgment for TikTok, we will find the same results: What is offensive for the judges and the petitioner, may not be offensive to others.
Issue Of Children’s Safety And TikTok App
No, we dont turn a blind eye towards the offensive content circulated on TikTok: Small kids performing on the platform stand a chance to get exploited and bullied on the platform, and this has actually happened.
Not only kids, but adults too.
A 24-year old man killed himself after he was bullied and insulted on TikTok. But then, such bullying can happen anywhere, even on Facebook or any public park.
While performing stunts for higher views, few kids killed themselves on the road, and such incidents have come to light.
But, there can rules and regulations created for such incidents.
As it happened with TikTok in the US, TikTok created a separate app for kids, and infused additional safety measures and protocols to ensure that no kid is harassed, or abused on the platform. After TikTok met the regulations imposed by US Federal Trade Commission, and everything is fine there now. Content has been segregated based on audience profile, and more filters and checks have been imposed. Parents have been educated on how to monitor the content accessed by their kids, and provided with more tools and features to do that.
There is no reason why the same cannot be applied to India as well, instead of a ban.
Do you think that the ban on TikTok makes sense? Do let us know by commenting right here.