EU against social media regulations

New Delhi: Amid a debate here on regulating social media, European Union (EU) today said it is firmly opposed to any "unjustified, disproportional restrictions of access to or use of these media."

In a message on the occasion of World Press Freedom, EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton said, "Freedom of expression as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights entails everyone`s right to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Censorship and harassment of editors, writers, journalists or bloggers are unacceptable, as are the use of violence and state induced arrests inflicted upon them, the EU foreign policy chief said in a statement.

The EU commends the courageous work of journalists who, in often highly precarious conditions, continue to provide independent information, she said, adding that the EU calls on all states to guarantee the safety of journalists and to allow them to carry out their vital role of reporting and commenting on events in an independent manner without fear of violence and recrimination.

"Freedom of expression also extends to the internet and other media, and the EU is firmly opposed to any unjustified, disproportional restrictions of access to or use of these media," she said.

There has been a nation-wide debate on regulation of social media by imposing strict curbs on it and ensuring the right to privacy of public figures. There are some who are suspicious of any governmental move to regulate social media whereas others have a different point of view. The government has already been asking the internet companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft to create a framework to pre-screen the content before it goes on the website.

Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman of Press Council of India, has been pressing for regulation of social media and forming of a committee to place restrictions on the social media which he has said was "often acting in an arbitrary and irresponsible" way.