Holding internet platforms liable for third-party content would lead to self-censorship and reduce the free flow of information, Google Inc said on Wednesday in reaction to India's new rules.
We believe that a free and open Internet is essential for the growth of (the) digital economy and safeguarding freedom of expression, Google said in a statement on Wednesday.
If internet platforms are held liable for third-party content, it would lead to self-censorship and reduce the free flow of information. The regulatory framework should ideally help protect internet platforms and people's abilities to access information.
Regulations introduced last month require search engines and websites to get rid of objectionable content including information that is grossly harmful, harassing ... defamatory ... hateful ... and disparaging.
The rules also state the websites will not knowingly host or publish objectionable matter and should remove such material within 36 hours of becoming aware that it existed.
Seeking to allay concerns the new rules enabled the Indian government to regulate content in a highly subjective manner, India's Department of Information Technology, in a separate statement, said the government had no intention of acquiring regulatory jurisdiction over content under these rules.
Referring to concerns the wording used in rules for objectionable content were broad and could be interpreted subjectively, the Department said the terms were in accordance with those used by most internet platforms as part of their existing policies.
(Reporting by Bharghavi Nagaraju; Editing by David Holmes)