Freedom of Expression in Cyberspace

There is no doubt of the fact that free speech is the line of democracy. With the technological advancements of information technology, the internet too has become one of the mediums of exercising one’s freedom of speech and expression. Chapter 12 is dedicated to dealing with the same.

The chapter begins by giving a brief overview of the Freedom of Speech and Expression as given under the Indian Constitution and then goes on to discuss the same when the medium of exercising the same is the internet. The methods of controlling speech online, including criminalization, pre-censorship, etc. have been enunciated along with an overview of what constitutes a reasonable restriction. Following this, the offense of defamation in the virtual dimension i.e., Cyber Defamation has been elucidated. Its essential ingredients, publication, limitation period, the liability of intermediaries or publishers and statutory provisions relating to online defamation as provided under the IT Act, 2000 and the Indian Penal Code have been discussed.

The chapter then discusses the jurisdiction of a court’s authority in cyberspace by explaining the pre-requisites of jurisdiction. Various international laws and jurisdictional theories in the jurisdiction to prescribe have also been explained in great detail. The question of whether cybercrimes are extraditable offenses has also been answered. Lastly, the tests to determine jurisdiction and jurisdiction under different statutes such as the CPC, CRPC, IT Act, etc. have been elucidated.