New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Monday sought reply from the Centre on a plea seeking law to regulate social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and hold them accountable for allegedly spreading hate speech and fake news.

The plea has been filed by advocate Vineet Jindal seeking framing of a law to prosecute those involved in spreading fake news and hate speeches. A bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian issued notice to the Centre and others and tagged the plea with other pending petition where the petitioner has sought setting up of a media tribunal to decide complaints against media houses.

The petitioner has contended that the authorities concerned should be issued directions to develop a mechanism to filter and simultaneously remove hate speeches and fake news within a short space of time. Citing the reach of social media against traditional media, the petitioner referred to few incidents of communal violence where social media was misused.

The plea has cited the complexities involved in the freedom of speech and expression, which is subjected to reasonable restrictions. The petitioner has emphasised that this right is complex as it is not absolute and there are host of duties involved to exercise this right.

Last month, the top court had sought response from Centre, Press Council of India (PCI) and News Broadcasters Association (NBA) on a PIL, seeking direction to set up media tribunal to adjudicate on complaints against media, channels and networks. This PIL was jointly filed by filmmaker Nilesh Navalakha and civil engineer Nitin Memane.

Besides the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, PCI and NBA, the top court had also issued notices to News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) and News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA). The apex court had tagged Jindal’s PIL with this plea. (IANS)

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