ANI files defamation case against Wikipedia

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Source- This post on the ANI files defamation case against Wikipedia has been created based on the article “Why has ANI slapped a defamation case against Wikipedia” published in “Indian Express” on 10 July 2024.

Why in the news?

Asian News International (ANI) has filed a defamation case against Wikipedia in the Delhi High Court. ANI claims that Wikipedia allowed defamatory content about ANI on its platform.

Provisions Invoked in ANI’s Defamation Case Against Wikipedia

Source: IE

1. Information Technology Act, 2000: ANI’s legal argument primarily involves provisions under the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, particularly concerning the liability of intermediaries for user-generated content.

i) Section 2(1)(w) of the Information Technology Act, 2000: This section defines “intermediary” as any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores, or transmits that message or provides any service with respect to that message. ANI argues that Wikipedia qualifies as an intermediary under this definition.

ii) Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000: Section 79 of the IT Act provides a “safe harbour” for intermediaries, which means that intermediaries are not liable for third-party content if they meet certain conditions.

a) Section 79(1): Grants exemption from liability to intermediaries for third-party content.

b) Section 79(2): Outlines conditions under which this exemption applies, including not initiating the transmission, not selecting the receiver, and not modifying the information contained in the transmission.

c) Exceptions to Protection: Protection is not applicable if intermediaries don’t remove harmful content after being informed by the government. Intermediaries must not tamper with evidence of these messages or content.

iii) Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code: These guidelines require intermediaries to:

a) Implement a grievance redressal mechanism.

b) Appoint a Grievance Officer to handle complaints.

c) Ensure due diligence by removing or disabling access to unlawful content within a specified timeframe upon receiving complaints.

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