Report Of Panel Discussion On IT Rules

A panel discussion on Information Technology Act rules was held at Sundarayya Vignana Kendram on March 31st , 2012. Prof. Madabushi Sreedhar, NALSAR, speaking in the discussion criticized the Information Technology Act rules (IT rules) which make even the “intermediaries” responsible for the user generated content. Mishi Choudhary, Executive Director, Software Freedom Law Center, has thrown light on the technicalities IT rules. Intermediaries which help the internet reach the common people cannot be made responsible for the user generated content, she said. Mishi, commenting on the pre-censorship of user generated content has taken an example where a site like www.youtube.com, around 72 hours of video is uploaded per minute and urged the government to consider its feasibility. And if such practices are taken forward, internet would cease to exist in the current form, she added.

Kiran Chandra, General Secretary, Free Software Movement of India said, even though government presents the case of importance of IT rules as a case which is necessary to protect the copyrights of creators, the major thrust seems to be on curbing an individual's ability to participate in the discussions analyzing the governments. He further added, government is afraid of events like Arab Springs which resulted in the victory of democracy and encouraged people's participation in the politics. Events in India like Anti-corruption movement and Nira Radia tapes' case which sensitized many people on the corrupt government were only possible because of internet acting as a platform for the discussion, he reminded.

The event was attended by Lawyers, IT professionals, Engineering college students who showed their solidarity for fighting against IT rules. The petition put up in change.org can be signed by people who are in solidarity for this fight. The panel urged the government to withdraw the current IT rules and re-draft the rules by considering inputs from civil society, bloggers, web media and other stakeholders. This discussion is organized by Swecha, All India Lawyers' Union and Software Freedom Law Center. The meeting concluded with a decision to mobilize and ensure the participation of large number of democratic minded citizens to sign the petition at

http://www.change.org/petitions/save-your-voice-netfreedom