Since the Assam riots followed by violence at Azad Maidan, exodus of NE people from many cities and more violence at Lucknow and Allahabad a shrill campaign is being carried out by both the govt and the Mainstream Media (MSM) to crackdown on Social Media (SM). The ones heaping the most scorn on SM are none other than the ones from the communal channel of CNN-IBN group. Sagarika Ghose, Ashutosh, Nikhil Wagle and, of course, Rajdeep Sardesai have been abusing the Twitterati for quite a long time now. Some of their messages on Twitter can even be classified as ‘hate speech’ and ‘threats’. There are too many such tweets for me to reproduce here so anyone who wants to go through those can scroll their Twitter timeline (yes, it’s legal).
Ever since the govt came to the magic conclusion that it was certain websites from Pakistan and from India that provoked Muslims to riot and agitate violently and provoked the NE exodus our MSM has adrenalin rushing through their spines. GOI has already blocked over 100 such websites from India and nobody knows which sites those are. The hate-mongers from the MSM also seem to deeply desire a crackdown on Twitter, Facebook and blogs. Under the guise of inflammatory content the GOI has probably blacked out many websites which may have absolutely nothing to do with the riots, rumours or the NE exodus.
CNN-IBN, the hate social media channel, had Thapar the Tool asking the question on August 20 on his programme: “Should social media be subject to restrictions”? The question is as evil as the mind that concocted it. We, in the public, should be asking why CNN-IBN, a highly hateful channel, a channel whose editor compares riots and states, implies number of deaths determine coverage of riots and whose Social Genius frequently abuses Hindu icons and even Indian males in general shouldn’t be shut down altogether. Towards the end of his show The Tool even prods a panellist from govt repeatedly to answer the question: “Will you take legal action against Twitter?” Such is the utter contempt for social media which is a huge mass or ordinary men and women.
To my knowledge and all information available the violence at Azad Maidan wasn’t directly provoked by websites. There is enough evidence that activists on the ground used images from the web in printed leaflets to mobilise the protests which led to violence. As for rumour mongering leading to the exodus, the MSM celebs are probably as guilty of it as much as anyone else. In fact, reports of arrests in Bangalore indicate mobile operators SMSed the threats and rumours. The latest report today in HindustanTrolls has this to say: “Cyber security agencies have apparently detected the hand of radical groups, such as the Popular Front of India (PFI) in Kerala and Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jehad al Islami (HuJI), while tracking SMSs that led to the exodus of Northeast people. They have been tracking SMSes — not all troublesome — from all sources. Of them, more than 60 million were sent on August 13 alone”.
Another report: “The Government has reportedly ordered 80 or more Internet pages and user-accounts on social networking sites including Facebook, Google and Twitter to be banned to avoid panic among people of the North-Eastern region living across India”. Reports NDTV. This must bring endless joy to the MSM and those who campaigned vigorously for such an action. Here is a twitter transaction between the Social Genius and Sadanand Dhume (They had earlier battled in a debate on Internet Hindus on AlJazeera). The response from Dhume is very telling. It is quite evident that these celebs from the MSM are tired of their spin, their lies and their propaganda being exposed by many in the SM. They are desperate to regain their monopoly of the airwaves and continue their free-run without being exposed. In short, they want to be the Tin-pot dictators of media that Dhume describes. And all these spurious arguments from a woman who abuses any and all persons and icons in her stupidity.
From July 18 this site itself was blocked by BSNL. Reasons? Unknown! For three weeks BSNL users were not able to access this site. There was no response to two mails that I sent them but before it could go any further they had restored access, after three weeks. There is an interesting ruling by a consumer court that should guide the blocking of all sites and maybe that woke up BSNL to its crime.
MediaNama reports: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at Shimoga (Karnataka) has penalised Airtel for deficiency in providing Internet access when it blocked torrent sites earlier this year, following a Madras High Court Order received by Copyright Labs. Ruling in favour of the complainant, Vinay B, a resident of Shimoga, the consumer forum has directed Airtel to pay Rs 20,000 to the complainant (and pay interest at 9% per annum till date of payment), for deficiency in service and for causing mental agony, and Rs 2,000 towards litigation charges. A copy of the Court’s order is available here.
Vinay B, a resident of Shimoga, filed a complaint against Airtel, alleging that while trying to access a torrent site from his mobile phone over a GPRS connection, he encountered the “Access to this site has been blocked as per court orders” message, in place of the web page. Following calls and e-mails to the customer service, Airtel failed to come up with a satisfactory response, and apparently misinterpreted the Madras High Court order blocking an entire website instead of a particular film clip, according to the complainant. Airtel’s nodal officer came up with a response that the court order did not specify if Airtel should not ban the entire site, instead…. It noted that for about more than one and half months, the illegal block was imposed by Airtel as the website was blocked in the last week of May 2012 and the block had been withdrawn from July 15th of 2012.
So even in the extraordinary case of a violation only the relevant pages need to be blocked and not the entire website. Websites can also be issued notices to take down pages and I am positive if a real threat is perceived any website author will oblige by putting nation over self. Regardless of this it is criminal that the media which should stand up for freedom of speech delights and thrills in strangling social media. Time will soon establish the ignorance of both the govt and the MSM that they simply cannot blame social media for provoking riots or violence or rumours. There is no solid evidence to prove that and the govt or media hasn’t provided any so far. The motive for the attacks on NE people, the rumours and threats that forced their exodus maybe much larger than what is known and reported so far.
Social Media will not replace MSM but sooner than later will become the more reliable source for news and information. This is what scares the living daylights out of hysterical celebs like Sagarika, Ashustosh, Wagle, Barkha and many more. The collective hatred they spew against certain groups and people in general can compare with the Ku Klux Klan or an elite Neo-Nazi group. A line from the article: “The art of rumour in the age of digital reproduction” in The Hindu pretty much sums up their desperation: “Older media like television remain powerful but increasingly fragile — hence the nervous hysterics of television anchors”. Social Media has truly arrived.