Mobile phones have become an extension to the human hand and internet, the lifeblood, to keep this extension functioning and valid. Calling is not a mobile phone’s primary function for many years now. But every year, the introduction of a new app has brought phones and the internet in the category of basic necessities. It has given identity to people who went unnoticed in the walk of life, voice to unheard and right to have an opinion.
Rise of social media sites took the world by storm and paved a path for a better, faster and unfiltered medium of interaction. The same interaction gave birth to a new category of crime, “Cyber Crime”.
What is Cyber Crime?
This is the category of crime in which the criminal makes use of a computer, laptop or mobile phone to commit the offence. The criminal can use any device to access his victim’s personal information, business information, confidential information, etc. and uses this information for his personal gain or harass the victim. This is the age of cyber crime and the rate of these crimes is at an all-time high.
Social Media Defamation
We are in a world where name-calling, commenting on someone’s looks, financial status, family, work, etc. and bringing him to a vulnerable state in the society has become a regular task. You do not even have to know the person before you bring him to the platform of social media defamation. Every social media site gives you the freedom to express your opinion, giving you the right to comment. This privilege took the form of bullying and now is an easy tool in the hands of every potential cyber-criminal. Now we do not even need to leave our seat to make a crass comment about somebody. You can do it all from the safety of your house. But one thing you should remember before making a derogatory comment is that social media defamation is a cyber crime.
Types Of Cyber Defamation
There are mainly two types of cyber defamation.
#1. Libel or written defamation
#2. Slander or verbal defamation
The Internet has made social media defamation far too easy and the sad part is sometimes social media defamation is not even intentional. But cyber defamation, intentional or not has consequences.
Internet has Law Against Cyber Defamation
In India, the law of cyber defamation falls under Section 499. The law has been extended to electronic documents. Section 500 of IPC provides for punishment against cyber defamation. A person found guilty of cyber defamation under Section 499 is punishable under section 500. This punishment may consist of imprisonment of 2 years or fine. In case you are unlucky, you might get punished with both imprisonment and fine for social media defamation.
Cyber Defamation or Free Speech?
The Internet has certainly opened the doors to freedom of thoughts and interaction but understanding the difference between cyber defamation and freedom of speech is very important to keep yourself far away from cyber police. Think before you make a statement online as the law that protects your right to freedom of speech demands rationality for the protection of the reputation of other persons.
*The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist professional advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. The views expressed in this article are solely of the authors of this article.
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