Scrap derogatory content by Feb 6, court asks websites

New Delhi : A Delhi court Saturday ordered websites like Facebook, Google and Yahoo to remove all “derogatory” content from their sites by Feb 6, or face contempt charges.

Administrative civil judge Mukesh Kumar ordered all the websites to file a compliance report by Feb 6, affirming that they have removed the derogatory content from their sites.

If they fail, the websites will face contempt charges, the court said, hearing the petition of Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, who objected to images hurting religious sentiments posted on these websites.

Appearing before the court, the representative of two websites companies, Yahoo India Pvt Ltd and Microsoft, told the court that they have not been provided copies of the complaint.

They said they have come to know of the case after reading media reports and sought to be provided with the copies of the complaint.

Qasmi’s advocate Santosh Pandey told the court that he would provide the copies of the complaint with related document to all the companies concerned.

The court said on Tuesday: “The defendants are directed to remove the (offending) photographs from their social networking sites.”

The court ruling came after Qasmi produced some pictures which the court said had “content of defamation and derogation against the sentiments of every community”.

In a similar matter, another court, of Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar, had on Friday issued summons to 21 websites, including social networking site Facebook, search engine Google, Yahoo and video sharing website YouTube for allegedly hosting obscene and derogatory content.

The magistrate had observed that the material submitted by the complainant contained obscene pictures and derogatory articles pertaining to various Hindu gods, Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ.

Internet world was in an uproar in December after a report said Communication and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal had asked social networking sites like Facebook and Google, which operate the social video platform Youtube, to censor content which were offensive to religious sentiments and degrading some individuals.

“I have asked them to give us suggestions…the reach of the social media is enormous but the people using them are limited. It should not be, what we are fed is an elitist point of view or represents the point of view of a certain section of the society,” Sibal said after the meeting the representatives of social networking sites on Dec 15.

Sibal met the representative of social networking sites to evolve mutually agreeable guidelines to ensure that such content do not go on their platforms.

In earlier interactions with the media, the minister had said he was compelled to think of guidelines for barring objectionable content on social networking sites after they declined to do anything about the issue.

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