Protest seeks review of IT Act - The New Indian Express

Protest seeks review of IT Act

Published: 06th December 2012 11:04 AM

Last Updated: 06th December 2012 11:04 AM

Murugan, a car driver attached to a call taxi service, was quite curious when he saw a few students and IT professionals holding placards demanding proper respect for freedom of speech at the Elliots Beach on Tuesday.

After inquiring with bystanders, it struck him that what they were protesting for a reason that could affect each individual. Quite instinctively, he offered the group to hold one of the charts and participate in the protest.

The agitation that the Free Software Foundation organised at the beach to condemn recent instances of misuse of the IT Act  and to press for a review of the legislation itself struck an instant chord with the beach-goers, many of whom were seen curiously reading out the hand-outs distributed during the occasion.

Messages in the placards perhaps summed up the mood amongst youth on what is now being termed as a “draconian” piece of law put into force without much debate. “Freedom of expression doesn’t mean the right to express one’s opinion at the cost of getting arrested,” a message read.

Secretary of the Tamil Nadu chapter of the FSF, Sibi Kanagaraj, said the organisation will widen the scope of these awareness programmes to colleges and IT companies very soon. “We are looking to organise a seminar by next month to get experts in the field and talk about issue affecting internet freedom,” he said.

On the Act itself, he said, it provided for three year sentence to offenses that the law itself has failed to define properly.

This has left the interpretation to the imagination of the law enforcement officials, which is a dangerous game. “Some people ask us why we don’t protest for other forms of discrimination. People have to understand that freedom of speech is perhaps the most fundamental,” he said.

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