In the clip below, Stephen Grootes of 702 chats to Emma Sadleir, social media expert on the Midday Report about the consequences of allowing illegal or defamatory content shared by group members on WhatsApp groups and Facebook Pages.
This follows a recent case in India where a WhatsApp group administrator was held responsible for a photoshopped defamatory image of the Prime Minister.
According to the 702 report, even in South Africa, people who administer WhatsApp groups could be held legally responsible for what’s said on the group and could be sued for defamation.
“The law of South Africa treats you (administrator) as if you are like an editor of a newspaper and you are responsible for the content of its pages.” Says Sadleir.
You can listen to the interview below:
On the flip side, however, Scroll published an article back in April 2016 where they alluded to the fact that these kinds of restrictions might infringe on freedom of speech following a spate of Internet shutdowns, banning of mobile telephony and arrests for online content:
“Much like shutdowns, these directives pose a severe threat to the freedom of speech enjoyed by users online and are in clear violation of existing legal precedents.” Quoted from Scroll.in
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