The Nitish Kumar government in India’s Bihar state has issued a gag order to stop people “making objectionable remarks” against ministers, MPs, legislative assembly members, and government officers on social media. Anyone found “tarnishing the picture” of these individuals will be charged under the Information Technology Act.
Nayyar Hasnain Khan, who heads Bihar's Economic Offences wing, has issued a letter outlining the move to all the administrative secretaries of the state government.
“Legal action will be taken towards social media i.e. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Telegram for making objectionable remarks towards a government minister, MP, MLA, or government officer. Apart from this, individuals, teams, and establishments that unfold lies and confusion will additionally come under its purview,” reads the directive.
The order has sparked uproar in the state, which has an estimated 39.3 million internet users and over 62.1 million active mobile phones.
Kumar has 6.2 million followers on Twitter, more than his closest rival Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and former state chief, who has 5.5 million followers.
The order has not gone down well with Indian netizens, with many criticising it as an attack on freedom of speech.
What will happen to CM/Ministers/MPs/MLAs who usually gives provocative speeches and inciting violences? Even PM himself can identify the protesters from their clothes?? Is this not a crime? If not then why? Are we really having democracy?— Ahmad (@85Sahmad) January 22, 2021
Age of memes , cartoons will become history perhaps, why do our politicians get offended so easily , chor ki beard me tinka— Vinod (@Vinod38350348) January 22, 2021
We the voters vote for them , They form budget with our tax money , they live in government property , built by tax payers money , there whole existence is due to us but who takes offence ? The politicians .— Mohammed Anis (@Mohamme14352125) January 22, 2021
RIP Democracy.— Krishna Kant Sharma (@krishnakant_75) January 22, 2021
Seems as if East India Company rules India again.
Any dissent and you will be hauled up & punished.
Meanwhile these same politicians come with folded hands during elections to seek your votes.