Government Authorized to Imprison Vloggers, Anchors, Staff, and Restrict YouTube, Netflix for e-Safety Bill Breach

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has introduced new social media regulations through the e-Safety Bill 2023, which empowers the regulator to swiftly block, raid, and seize the premises of social media platforms, websites, channels, and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime under the direction of an area magistrate.

According to documents obtained, individuals, channels, or companies operating on social media could face closure or imprisonment for 3 to 5 years if they violate the provisions of the online protection bill. Interestingly, if a person or entity is found guilty of an offense under the e-Safety Act, all directors, partners, and employees associated with that person or company will be considered guilty and subject to appropriate punishment unless proven innocent.

Repeat violations or abetment may result in imprisonment for up to three years or a fine as prescribed by the rules, or both. If an unregistered social network platform violates any provision of the e-Safety Act, the offender may be punished with imprisonment for a term that could extend up to five years or a fine as stipulated by the Bill, or both.

Political or analytical programs, including talk shows, should be conducted objectively, representing all concerned parties and treating guests with respect. Content based on court proceedings, police records, or other sources should be fair and accurate, and no programs should be aired that could affect ongoing inquiries or trials.

Under the e-Safety Complaints Commission, penalties, including censure and fines, can be imposed on Social Network Registration Holders for violating the Act, rules, regulations, or code of conduct set by the e-Safety Authority. Individuals dissatisfied with the e-Safety Authority’s decision can file an appeal with the eSafety Tribunal within 30 days.