RJD MP demands law for regualtion of online hate speech

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New Delhi, Mar 18 (PTI) Rajya Sabha RJD member Manoj Kumar Jha on Thursday demanded legislation to regulate online hate speech and improve information disclosure about paid content.

Raising the issue in the pre-noon session in the House, Jha said the use of online sphere for spreading hate speech is reaching new heights.

Even new channels deliberately broadcast TRP centric news without or contrary to officially known facts, he added. 'Thus, I request to bring legislation to regulate the problem of online hate speech. The legislation should aim to detect monitor and safeguard against coordinated in-authentic behaviour, the misuse of online account bots, for the spread of hate speech and the deliberate broadcasting of fake news,' Jha said.

The senior RJD MP said the legislation should have measures to be taken to improve information disclosure about paid content aimed at spreading hate speech for a political end.

He also suggested that such legislation be introduced only after discussion with stakeholders for a balance between the censorship of harmful content and freedom of speech and expression.

The RJD MP made a case for including internet education in the school curriculum to impart basic knowledge and sensitise children about the responsible use of the internet and the risks of hate speech and abuse.

The issue of household air pollution was also raised in the House.

Citing a study published in 2018, NCP member Vandana Chavan said household air pollution claims the lives of almost half a million Indians, and is also a cause for major lethal diseases.

The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojanam, which boosts the use of clean cooking fuel and helps control these related diseases, came as a solace and the right step of the government in that direction, she said.

Chavan said it was also heartening that the government, in a very short time, claimed success in achieving 98 per cent LPG coverage pan India, In spite of the 98 per cent coverage claimed, there was only 20 per cent increase in the actual usage of clean cooking fuel from 2015 to 2020, the MP noted.

The NCP member highlighted that 44.5 per cent of rural households were still using firewood chips and crop residue, meaning usgae of LPG cylinders was very low.

Under the DBT Scheme, she said, the beneficiary has to pay the amount and then wait for the subsidy to come into his account.

'So a huge challenge for the poor families, So I sincerely urge...that the government should reconsider, restructure the Ujjwala scheme, and additional monetary incentive be given to encourage refills (of LPG cylinders), as recommended also by the Committee on petroleum and natural gas in 2020, and a system be devised that is practical and works for the poor,' Chavan said.

D P Vats of the BJP said non-populist, drastic measures are needed to check rising pollution and shed the tag of Delhi being the world's most polluted capital.

Citing the recent report of a Swiss air quality technology company, he said Delhi remains the most polluted capital city in the world for the third consecutive year while towns of the national capital region (NCR) rank among the most polluted.

Joining the issue, Priyanka Chaturvedi (Shiv Sena) said instead of discussing pollution 'we end up discussing women wearing ripped jeans', a reference to a remark by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat.

She said premature deaths due to pollution are more than deaths associated with COVID-19.

Raising the Maharashtra-Karnataka border row, G C Chandrashekar of the Congress said since the dispute is in the Supreme Court, the Maharashtra government should not make provocative statements.

Shiv Sena had on Wednesday demanded that Belagavi be declared a union territory.

'Belagavi will remain part of Karnataka,' Chandrashekar declared.

His party colleague Anand Sharma raised the need for setting up virtual classrooms at community centres and providing wifi connectivity to help students with no devices to join online classes, Jyotiraditya Scindia (BJP) wanted a national mission for eradicating malnutrition in children to be set up.

P Wilson (DMK) raised the issue of the Centre curtailing reservation in the M.Tech biotechnology course in Anna University to 27 per cent, saying the institution is a state university and should be governed by Tamil Nadu's reservation policy of providing 69 per cent reservation.

K C Ramamurthy (BJP) sought the setting up of Supreme Court's benches in four regions to ease the burden on the apex court. For the south, he suggested Bengaluru as the ideal location.

Kumar Ketkar (Congress) sought a full investigation into the supplier of the gelatin sticks founds in an SUV parked near the Mumbai residence of the richest Indian Mukesh Ambani, the purpose and the associates of the person.

Banda Prakash (TRS) raised the issue of posts belonging to reserved categories lying vacant in higher education institutions such as IIMs and IITs while Ahmad Ashfaque Karim (RJD) demanded that charitable education institutions be exempted from GST just like income tax. PTI NKD ANZ NAM MIN MIN