Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- Laws to curb abusive content: kerala
The issue in news
Kerala Governor recently signed an ordinance amending the law to give the police more powers to prosecute persons who exploit various communication platforms to slander fellow citizens.
- The ordinance has introduced a new provision, Section 118-A, to the Kerala Police Act, 2011.
- The amendment proposes three years of imprisonment and a fine of up to 10,000 for those convicted of producing, publishing or disseminating derogatory content through any means of communication to intimidate, insult or defame any person.
- The drastic amendment to the Kerala Police Act, 2011, would give the local law enforcement more powers to curb defamation.
- The ordinance would allow whimsical interpretations by law enforcement agencies.
- Opposition parties, journalists’ bodies and civil rights activists see it as a threat to the freedom of the press and free speech in the State. It is argued that the amendment would reverse the course on media freedom, muzzle free speech and jeopardize civil liberties.
- It is opined that conferring power on the police to gauge mental injury, loss of reputation and such matters due to dissemination of information would result in widespread abuse.
Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000:
- In 2015, the Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which gave the government power to arrest and imprison an individual for allegedly offensive online posts.
- The court ruled that as it did not distinguish between speech that was merely “offensive or annoying” and that which was guilty of inciting a disruption of public order, Section 66A was liable to have a chilling effect on free speech.
- The same judgment also declared as invalid Section 118 (d) of the Kerala Police Act, which prescribed a jail term for those who caused annoyance to others by indecent statements, comments, calls or messages.
- In effect, the new ordinance tries to resurrect a section struck down as unconstitutional by the apex court.
- Despite the guarantees in the Constitution, free speech, dissent and even legitimate criticism is looked at as an exercise in bad faith, and projected as an attack on democratically elected authority. As a result, existing laws are being weaponised to arrest journalists and citizens for a tweet or a slogan or a Facebook post.
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
- Japan to strengthen Maldives Coast Guard
The issue in news
The Maldives and Japan have signed an agreement for a Japanese grant of $7.6 million to be extended to the Maldives Coast Guard and the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center.
- The development comes less than three months after the signing of the ‘Framework for U.S. Department of Defence-Maldives Ministry of Defence – Defence and Security Relationship’.
- The grant aid is the Maldives’s second major pact with a member of the Quad.
- The Quad member countries’ Foreign Ministers had recently held discussions, including on ways to counter Chinese presence and influence in the region.
- The Maldives is home to nearly 4 lakh people and assumes geopolitical significance, owing to its strategic location.
- The deal will be utilised to further strengthen the capabilities of the Maldives Coast Guard, the country’s Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center, Sub-Regional Centers and Vessels.
- It includes the provision of communications equipment, professional search and rescue dive equipment.
- In a departure from its earlier reservations to other big powers expanding its strategic presence in the region, India had welcomed the Maldives’s first military agreement with the U.S., the Maldives’s first with a country other than India.
- India views the development as a positive one, as it did when Washington and Male earlier signed the defence pact that focusses on maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean, besides promoting a rules-based order that promotes stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
- Integrated fight against climate change
The issue in news
Prime Minister’s comments on India’s fight against climate change in a G-20 event – “Safeguarding the Planet: The Circular Carbon Economy Approach”.
- The PM said that the climate change issue must be tackled using an integrated approach.
- He asserted that the entire world can progress faster if there is greater support of technology and finance to developing nations.
- “Inspired by our traditional ethos of living in harmony with the environment, and the commitment of my government, India has adopted low-carbon and climate-resilient development practices,” he said.
- India is a signatory to the 2015 Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- India has been taking concrete action with respect to tackling the issue of climate change.
- India has made LED lights popular in turn saving 38 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year.
- It has set a 175 gigawatts renewable energy target to be achieved before 2022.
- India is also seeking to achieve the target of 450 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030.
- 132 countries attend global meet on criminal finances
The issue in news
The 4th Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies was organised by the Interpol, Europol and the Basel Institute on Governance.
- Representatives from 132 countries attended the virtual conference to shape international cross-sector solutions against the criminal use of cryptocurrencies.
- The conference’s agenda included trends and investigations on cryptocurrency-related offences, exploring criminal flows and operations in the dark markets, ransomware and sextortion case studies, money laundering involving virtual assets, and the transfer of drug proceeds using cryptocurrencies.
Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies
- The conference is an initiative of the Working Group on Cryptocurrencies and Money Laundering established in 2016 by the three organisations Interpol, Europol and the Basel Institute on Governance.
- It was launched with the objective of strengthening knowledge, expertise and best practices for investigations into financial crimes and intelligence on virtual assets and cryptocurrencies.
- Recently, there has been an increase in the number and quality of investigations in the field of cryptocurrency-facilitated crime and subsequent money laundering.
- Law enforcement and other public entities are continuing to enhance their level of knowledge and expertise in this crime area.
- The conference serves as an opportunity to underline the need for countries and jurisdictions to increase the exchange of tactical information and best practices.