A Delhi court today deferred hearing on a case against 20 Internet companies including Microsoft, Google and Facebook till May 23. The companies have been accused of failing to remove objectionable content from their websites. Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja at the Patiala House courts will now hear the case. Earlier, Judge Sudesh Kumar, another metropolitan magistrate at the same court, was supposed to take up the case. The court has not revealed reasons behind the change.
Facebook, Google and other Internet companies are facing civil and criminal lawsuits in the country over accusations of hosting offensive content on their websites. The Indian government has already asked these companies to set up a monitoring mechanism to filter offensive content. The Internet companies have also failed to get any relief from the courts and were asked to remove the content that could hurt sentiments of people. The companies are being prosecuted for allegedly encouraging criminal conspiracy, defamation and animosity between different communities and groups.
Google and Facebook initially refuted accusations of hosting objectionable content but later told the court they had removed the content that hurt religious sentiments. Google and Twitter have recently updated their policies and agreed to censor content in lines with the requests of local governments. Check out below our detailed coverage on the ongoing web censorship row:
- Web censorship: Yahoo India dropped from objectionable content case
- Banning or monitoring content against Indian Constitution: Google
- Web censorship: Govt. wants social media sites to work within laws