Cyber crimes are increasingly getting innovative and difficult to ascertain. One such cyber crime has caught Mail Today unaware and it published a forged article under the name of Shanti Bhushan. Of course, Shanti Bhushan never wrote that article and Mail Today was left with no option but to apologise and it promised to file an FIR against the cyber criminal.
However, the role of Mail Today is also very suspicious. How can Mail Today publish the article under the name of Shanti Bhushan without following the well established procedure pertaining to editorial and publication? It is naïve on the part of Mail Today to publish such article without first assuring about its true origin and author.
There are many Indian laws that have been violated by both the cyber criminal who send such offending article as well as by Mail Today. The scope of this article is not to discuss the laws violated by these parties but to discuss about a crucial area that is ignored by many stakeholders in India.
Whoever has an online presence has to comply with the cyber law due diligence requirements of India. Media reports have claimed that the offending article is also available on the website and this makes it an online version of the offending article. By now Mail Today must have removed the offending article form its website and all other online platforms owned by it. If not, Mail Today has been violating the provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 as well.
Mail Today may observe due diligence in the near future to avoid repetition of any such incidence but this episode must also teach all media and online stakeholders that cyber law due diligence is a must to avoid civil and criminal liabilities.