Off late, social networking sites are beaming with internet / social media censorship issue. Needless issue, I must say - at this point in time. Our communication minister has ruffled feathers off many internet addicts (including me). But the point is, we are too busy to read / understand what he actually has to say and we comprehend the way we want. We get influenced by the same social networking media again and make judgements! It's important we know why he has made such a statement.
Background of Kapil Sibal
I am not going to tell you about who Kapil Sibal is, his educational background etc. Let me just mention that Sibal is the same guy who has restored some sanity in our cut-throat educational system by introducing grade based ranking. Remember the days when a single mark defines whether you are the best or among the rest? Remember the days you have let your family down (apparently) because you couldn't rise up to their ever increasing standards? He has atleast tried to ensure the next generation doesn't suffer the same fate! I respect him for that. He took over the telecom ministry when it was in a complete mess (it still is). No one would have taken over such a huge monkey on their backs. This guy did it. And I understand the new Telecom policy will be drafted. I can't guarantee how effective that will be, but atleast he is giving his best shot! Kudos for that too!
What he actually wants?
Now to the point - this is what he actually wants: "screening of offensive content before it is actually posted". So, the key word is 'screening' and not 'censorship' as is (mis)quoted everywhere. The guy wants to remove derogatory content from Facebook / Twitter. Which, if you think about it, seems justified. No one has the right to defame anyone in the name of democracy!! If you don't like the person and wants the world to know, state facts and explain why you don't like him / her. Simple, isn't it?
Why is it an interesting idea?
This is where I believe many of you won't appreciate my thoughts. I am an Internet addict. I use Facebook and Twitter as and when I get the time. I am a blogger too who publishes 1-2 posts a week (based on time again). I know how effective social networking can be. However, I also know it can be used against a certain group / people / religion in a derogatory way. Which, by the way, I am fine with - coz they are not my relatives / people I know. What I am not fine with, is that the same tool has the capability to incite riots / hatred among the citizens! Our country has gone through a lot - Sikh riots, Babri Masjid demolition, Gujarat Riots, Terrorist attacks. Even though we are becoming more secular, we still have a special bond with our own type of people (same religion / language / community). We are Indians, yet we still are Maharashtrians / Punjabis / South Indians / Gujaratis, right?
My point is simple. I don't want any section of our society to develop hatred towards anyone else in our country. Who wants hatred? No one. Who promotes hatred? Almost everyone!! So, based on my arguments, am I wrong if I say I want my country to be culturally diverse and yet be united?
However, why can't there be a fool-proof implementation?
Now to the implementation aspect. I simply don't think this is possible! I mean, this is technically possible. Before posting, the system can review keywords in the message and if found objectionable, it will not allow the user to post it. But no company (like Google / Facebook / Twitter and the likes) will screen the content. Hey, these companies are all about users and what they want. Remember, when Google+ was launched, Facebook came with a total makeover by increasing security?
What Mr. Sibal needs to understand is that the internet users aren't illiterate. They know what they are doing. Some go overboard. But most of us self-screen our content before posting. Congress has had its share of angry citizens now and is almost certain to lose in the next election.
All in all, the idea is noble, implementation is not possible. Internet addicts, chill. I understand why we are vocal about it. But we need not worry. This will not happen in India. Even if it happens, the next government will overrule it anyways! For the Congress, this could just be a way to divert attention from other key issues - inflation / Lokpal / corruption / scandals. And isn't the Congress successful? We all are talking about it for the past 1 week and it's trending continuously on twitter!! I think we have given enough "footage" to this episode. Let us move on!!
PS: I am not from any political party and am not defending the government decision. These are purely my views. Democracy, I say!