The demand by Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal that global internet companies block some content from their sites has come at a time when the country is seeing a growth in the number of internet users. The issue of incendiary material being posted on some social networking sites is indeed a matter of concern. The problem has been increasing with time. There are many sites that post a warning but it falls on deaf ears. The problem is that such unsocial things are unfettered. It is good that the Minister is taking note of it. Freedom of speech does not mean we can hurt the feelings of others. The government and internet companies should sit together and find a solution.
Every right comes with reasonable restrictions. Although the freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right, it is also our duty to observe restraint in the interest of decency and public order. One cannot irresponsibly malign the reputation of public figures in the name of democracy. The dangerous trend needs to be curbed as it is not based on genuine analysis and feeds the sadistic tendencies of the youth.
Although it is difficult to screen the material posted on the internet instantly, a mechanism can be evolved to monitor objectionable material. The government can perhaps use interpreter software to pull out such material by applying different filters, and post signals and messages to warn individuals trying to post objectionable matter.
Vasantala. Visweswara Rao,
Mr. Sibal's concern is understandable. The freedom to publish anything online is not exactly clever. Democracy may mean freedom of expression but that freedom comes with responsibility. If a stream of potential inflammable material is going to appear online on a constant basis, it would invariably result in uncontrollable violence. How can anyone expect the government to maintain law and order? We are living in the real, not the virtual, world.
Who is to decide what constitutes “communal”, “incendiary” or “provocative” material? As an internet user, I would find it difficult to accept the decision to regulate content.
Often, a critical comment on a leader in power leads to violence. And, no Minister has yet found the will or courage to stop such violent behaviour. Authoritarian measures will push the dirt under the carpet rather than allow for its exposure. Perhaps we need to look more consciously at what causes people to use unacceptable language, strong emotions and so on, rather than make sweeping superficial demands.