To use social media in a progressive way, the new government needs to stop arresting people for expressing their views on the medium
Shivangi Narayan | May 23, 2014
The first reactions to the denial of anticipatory bail of the Facebook user from Goa, Devu Chodankar, would obviously be full of condolences to the death of freedom of expression in India. Come on! Impending arrest for an innocent Facebook post? Really? A harmless, innocent post on a one of the many group pages on a social networking couldn’t mean anything. Of course it is the dawn of the draconian police state in our country.
Such an arguments obviously falsifies the impact social networking, especially Facebook and Twitter, has on people in India. According to the recent statistics, nearly two billion tweets are generated on Twitter in India. Of the one billion active users on Facebook, the majority come from India. 150 millions are connected to Internet of the broadband/leased line variety. The others are connected via their phones.
All said and done, the argument that harmless posts on harmless social networking don’t do any harm, well, stand no ground. The recent elections and the role of social networking in influencing voters clearly says that people are talking as well as listening on social networking.
The arguments about personal liberties on the virtual space, such as those of Devu Chodankar, should thus not be that the chatter on the space doesn’t reach anyone. But, that it reaches everywhere and thus, policing is going to be a lost case from the beginning.
If the above statistics tells us anything, it is that if the government starts arresting everyone guilty of an innocuous post on social media, it is going to run out of resources. Which is the least bothersome aspect of it. While we can hire more police personals to do the job, curbing real dissent is a different ballgame altogether. People are fiercely protective about their rights on the Internet and it goes right down to the last connected person on the planet. Nothing can work worse for democracy than dissent which has such deep roots.
The new government thus has a huge responsibility to understand the Internet, especially social media and freedoms and liberties of common people attached on it. While the present government has established that it would use the medium to be transparent to people, it needs to understand that the communication needs to be two-way. The views on social media don’t just need an arrest warrant but an objective hearing as views of the people.
For this to happen, the section 66A of the IT ACT needs to be revised and made unvague. While spreading hatred on social media is unacceptable, it is the responsibility of the present government to define what is “spreading hatred” in the first place. The act needs to define its terms of enactment if the government wants to know what its people think about it. Views of people like Devu Chodankar need to be analysed, not reprimanded.
Good luck to that.
9.44 The irresistible force of even as powerful an idea as UBI will run into the immovable object of a resistant, pesky reality. So, what is the way forward, always remembering that the yardstick for assessment is not whether UBI can be perfect or faultless but only whether it can impr
Should action be taken against hospitals which have hiked the heart surgery cost?
The state-of-the-art corporate office of oil and natural gas corporation (ONGC), Pandit Deen Dayal Uphadhayay Urja Bhawan, in New Delhi has won leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) India ‘platinum’ award by US green building council (USGBC), the highest recognition f
Demonetisation was a factor as candidates in the fray for the Mumbai civic polls wooed people. Though the election commission doubled the expenditure limits from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, some candidates found the going hard as there was a weekly withdrawal limit of Rs 24,000. Rs 10 lakh is way ab
Nathuram Godse, who was brought up by his parents as a girl in the first few years of his life, has been reviled for decades for fatally shooting the apostle of peace Mahatma Gandhi. What Godse said during the Gandhi assassination trial has not been made public, giving rise to considerable speculation.
The first coal rake of NTPC’s Pakri-Barwadih coal mine at Hazaribagh was flagged-off by finance minister Arun Jaitley, Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das, union minister of state for power, coal, N&RE and mines Piyush Goyal, and minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, at Ranchi on