Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Election Commission urges X to take down BJP Karnataka’s campaign video targeting Muslims

The Election Commission on Tuesday asked social media platform X to take down an animated video post by the BJP Karnataka handle that depicted the Congress appeasing Muslims at the cost of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

The direction comes hours after the final phase of polling began in Karnataka.

The video, posted on social media on May 03, showed Rahul Gandhi and the Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah giving funds only to
Muslims. The video demonising Muslims triggered outrage on social media, calling out the Islamophobia of the saffron party.

Another anti-Muslim video, posted by Prime Minister Modi on Instagram, was deleted after people reported it.

Activists also slammed the poll-monitoring agency for looking away from the misconduct of Modi’s party. The EC’s nodal officer appointed under the Information Technology Act, 2000 wrote to X asking that the post be taken down “immediately”. The post was “violative of extant legal framework”, the EC wrote.

It added that an FIR had already been registered in the matter and the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer had written to X on May 5 directing the platform to take down the “objectionable post”.

The CEO, through the Cybercrime Division of Bengaluru Police, had written to X on May 5 asking for the post to be taken down “as it violates Model Code of Conduct enforced during the Lok Sabha elections 2024”.

The notice from EC cited Section 79(3)(b) of the IT Act and rule 3(1)(d) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which pertains to takedown requests by authorised agencies. The cybercrime division warned, “non-compliance of which may attract legal action”.

“However, the post has not been taken down yet,” the EC added.

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