Nitish Kumar’s new law: ‘Offensive’ social media posts critical of government may land you behind bars in Bihar

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New Delhi | January 22, 2021 12:34 PM

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been upset with the 'misuse' of social media in spreading disinformation against his government.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar

In a decision that may be seen as a move to curtail free speech, the Bihar government has made ‘offensive’ criticism of the state government on social media sites an act amounting to cybercrime. It includes any ‘offensive/indecent’ post against the government, state ministers, Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assembly and the state government officials. A notification issued in this regard terms such posts as against the law and adds that it falls under cybercrime. Thus, one arrested under the law can land in jail.

Bihar has around 3 crore and 93 lakh internet users. The state has over 6 crore and 21 lakh mobile users. This is huge given the demography of the state and at a time when social media platforms are often used to spread fake news, the Bihar government’s move assumes greater significance.

The notification bears the signature of IG Nayyar Hasnain Khan. IG Khan said on Twitter that certain persons and organisations have been making defamatory and offensive comments on social media against the government, state ministers, MPs, MLAs and even state government officials. He added that such posts are clearly against prescribed law and comes under the category of cybercrime.

The state government has requested people to report such posts. It said that strict action will be taken against the person/organisation after duly verifying the posts.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been upset with misuse of social media. According to reports, he has openly expressed his displeasure over vested interests using social media platforms to mislead people.
Bihar CM has been expressing his anger against social media on every other occasion claiming that the platforms are being used to spread disinformation against his government.

Reacting to the notification, Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav said that Nitish Kumar is responsible for 60 scams and has been protecting criminals. He dared the CM to arrest him under the new order.

“Nitish Kumar is the mastermind behind 60 scams, he is the Bhishma Pitamah of corruption, the patron of notorious criminals, and is the weak leader of this immoral and illegal government. Bihar Police sells liquor. Protects criminals and implicates innocents. I challenge the CM now to arrest me under this order,” tweeted Yadav in Hindi.

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