The Minister of State (MoS) for Information and Broadcasting, L. Murugan, informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the government will “initiate action against those who write against the sovereignty of the nation” in response to a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member’s question on Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s tweet on women’s attire.
The BJP’s Arun Singh, without naming Ms. Gandhi, alleged during Question Hour that a senior Congress leader had said students could go to schools in bikinis, and whether her account would be blocked as it had hurt the sentiments of many people. Responding to this, Mr. Murugan stated, “In the Digital Ethics Code, we have a three-tier mechanic system. In this three-tier mechanism, there is the self-regulatory body and an Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC). In that Inter-Departmental Committee, we are taking action against that. So, as per the norms, we will initiate action against fake news and we will take action against those who write against the sovereignty of the nation.”
A day ago, Ms. Gandhi had tweeted: “Whether it is a bikini, a ghoonghat , a pair of jeans or a hijab, it is a woman’s right to decide what she wants to wear. This right is GUARANTEED by the Indian constitution. Stop harassing women.”
To a question from Manoj Jha of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on measures taken by the government to control online organised harassment of women journalists because of their work, Mr. Murugan replied, “Online harassment is under IPC [Indian Penal Code]. It is a State subject. The States have to take appropriate action regarding this.”
Regarding fake news, Mr. Murugan said, “Our government has established a fact check unit. Any citizen can write an email to this unit. We have a WhatsApp number also....in 13,000 cases, the fact check unit responded.”