Over hundreds of students had staged protests in Punjab after objectionable videos of several women students were leaked online. Following this incident, many social media platforms were put under scrutiny for the kind of content that gets published and circulated.
In one such probe, the Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) were able to uncover certain disturbing data on pornographic videos and objectionable tweets that were making rounds on Twitter. These videos that violated the guidelines showcased minors and women being subjected to non-consensual activities, and the content was being sold to other users for monetary benefits.
Findings Of The Women Commission
DCW Chief Swati Maliwal said that the Chandigarh University incident had set her thinking, after which she asked her team to investigate similar content available online. Upon this investigation, the DCW found several videos of minor girls on Twitter in which they are being sexually violated.
According to a report by the Deccan Herald, the DCW said that most of the tweets showed naked children and recorded rape and non-consensual incidents. It also consisted of tweets that depicted "rape with children and women while they were asleep," and most of them appear to be linked to some form of an illegal racket that seeks money in exchange for such content. This also led to the body discovering that many of these platforms were selling the purported videos for a price of ₹20-30 and earning lump sum amounts with the audience they have attracted.
The commission took suo motu cognisance of these tweets and issued summonses to Twitter and the city police. Currently, there are several acts and legal provisions in place for the protection of women and children from such conduct. Few among these include Section 14 of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and Section 67-B of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.
According to these sections, even though watching pornography in private constitutes a legal right, viewing child pornography is undebatedly an offence. It penalises every kind of act pertaining to child pornography, including publishing, transmitting, causing to be published or transmitted, engaging in sexually explicit act or conduct, creating text or digital images, collecting, seeking, browsing, downloading, advertising content "depicting children in an obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner", and so on.
Therefore, those found guilty of creating, transmitting, purchasing, and viewing the tweets that showed the children in a sexually explicit manner would all be liable to be punished.
Action Taken Up Following The Findings
A summons has been issued for Twitter to explain the availability of such content on their site and why it was not immediately deleted off the platform.
Twitter India has been called upon to ascertain the measures that have been taken up by the website to prevent such content from going online and the systems that are in place to immediately report the same to law enforcement agencies. The commission has also sought data about the number of similar objectionable tweets presently available on the Twitter platform and Twitter's standard operating procedure (SOP) in regard to it.
As per a report by the NDTV, Maliwal has asked the Delhi Police to register a First Investigation Report (FIR) to identify those guilty of the act as well as the victims involved in it. In regard to the same, a list of such tweets has been shared with the Delhi police to initiate a probe into the issue.
Also Read: Massive Protest Erupts At Chandigarh University Over 'Leaked Objectionable Videos' Of Women Students