The recent amendment to the Evidence Act has raised some concern among lawyers. This deals with the new amendment which deals primarily with the issue of social media and on defamatory publications on their profiles.
The amendments stipulated that if anyone is found with defamatory statements or publications through their social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter, they could be charged accordingly unless proven otherwise.
This also means that Wi-Fi account owners would be held liable if the statement were published through their coverage. One lawyer Art Harun said that the insertion of Section 114A into the act was severely unfair because it would mean that coffee shop and restaurant owners would be the biggest losers once the act comes into action.
Furthermore, Wi-Fi services are often used as ‘attractions’ by the operators to draw the crowd in. One must also be aware that using the Wi-Fi services need not necessarily need to be within the premises and hence, this could be very detrimental to the operators themselves.
If the operators are to apply the law accordingly, they would have stopped offering free Wi-Fi services by now. Under the new insertion, the owner of the publication would be held liable and this applies also to other parties like editor and sub-editor, administrator and also the host, which in this case refers to the operator.
On top of that, they can also be implied by being the person who is registered with the service operator while anyone who holds the control of the computer that the publication originated from will be liable.
All of these are applicable unless proven otherwise. The argument here is that, it pretty much stipulates that the operator would be guilty unless proven innocent, a practice which is in stark contrast to the underlying principles of our legal system.