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Need new theories to govern free speech in era of fake news on internet: CJI DY Chandrachud

CJI Chandrachud said that with the advent of troll armies and organised disinformation campaigns on social media, there was fear of an “an overwhelming barrage of speech” that distorts the truth.

In this context, he highlighted the outrageous claims made on internet when the country was trying to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For example, whether a religious site was desecrated or not; whether a speech was actually delivered; whether COVID-19 is caused by a virus or bacteria are all facts and not ideas or opinions, with many possible answers. I remember that while the country was faced with the tragic COVID-19 pandemic, the internet was rife with the most outrageous fake news and rumours – a source of comic relief in difficult times, but also forcing us to re-think the limits of free speech on the internet,” he said.

He contrasted it with traditional notions of free speech where, he said, freedom of speech and expression was deemed to be an essential part of civil rights activism because of the fear of government crackdown. 

The CJI was delivering the 14th Justice VM Tarkunde Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘Upholding Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Privacy, Surveillance and Free Speech’.

Source: Barandbench

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