Kapil Sibal, acting Minster of Telecommunication, is all set to censor the content generated on social media sites like Facebook, Google and Yahoo. In news reports it has been stated that Sibbal, wants Social media companies and other internet giants to scrutinize the content generated by Indian user and remove any defamatory content before it goes online. Sibbal actually wants a ‘human force’ to do this job and not programming codes or you may call robots.
This decision came after Kapil Sibbal found some offensive pages and pictures on Dr. Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi on social networking websites like Facebook. On the other hand, the three major technology companies based in US have denied the possibility of implementing a ‘Human force’ in order to curb any offensive data generated by almost 25 million user on Facebook and more than 100 million on Google.
The whole idea of censorship on internet blows off my mind completely, I mean we live in a democratic country and we have right to speak and say what we like. The step will take India on path of China and Pakistan, where we already see high level of internet censorship. Though the condition in India has not worsen to that extent, because the level of censorship in Pakistan and China is very different as what Indian is planning to implement, out there instead of offensive data or post, the whole websites are blocked. But even if the Indian government plans to curb offensive data that goes online, that will certainly be a hassle for freedom to speak. The major point here is that who will decide that which content is offensive and which is not. Sibal, suggested that instead of technology, humans should scrutinize the data, which is highly unlikely, imagine a situation where almost 250 million photos are uploaded on Facebook, everyday out of this even if 50 million are coming from India, how much practical and feasible it would be to keep a check on these photos. How many humans would work day and night to get this thing on track?
Even, if companies plan to implement this, what is the surety that the offensive content will not go online?
I’m somebody who does not support any kind of offensive thing about anyone to go online; I believe that if today it is somebody, tomorrow, I can also be the one been offended over internet. The government should implement a method which is much more appropriate and allow user to say what they want, by making sure that nobody is been offended directly or in-directly on internet.
A better idea would be to put a disclaimer kind of thing like “Any content posted, if found offensive will be taken off, as soon as it is brought to the notice.”
The whole idea of internet censorship is accepted to some extent because it is after all does not stops you to use websites like Facebook and Google, it just expect people to use language which is accepted and not defamatory. The trend of censorship is now taking a little more space than it should in India, after recent tussle with Blackberry on sharing information and content on BB messenger and a limit to sending text SMS.
There is no doubt that a lot of thing on internet and social media websites are offensive and should not be allowed to go viral. But to curb offensive data, a better mechanism is required, without violating the right to freedom of expression.
About Aditya Bhasin
Aditya Bhasin hails fromIndia,Delhi-an avid reader, who enjoys his cup of tea over it, a racist in purest form as he hates chocolate and coffee. He does not like traveling much, but, if he gets an opportunity to travel he chooses to do that by a train instead of a car or a plane. He is an introvert person who is trying to be an extrovert by all possible means.
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