Friday, March 29, 2013

Gentle Opinions To Gag SM



During a debate on the freedom of Social Media (March 23), where Corporate Affairs minister Sachin Pilot and BJP's senior leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also participated,  the key speaker appears to have been Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid. See Rediff report. Here’s what Khurshid had to say:

Social media is effective today because we are equal. It is the equality of social media and your ability to manipulate and use technology that gives you the freedom -- a freedom which then, perhaps, needs to be regulated. It needs to be regulated because every freedom has to be regulated" and he adds “Please read the Constitution and if you are a true Indian, please bow to the Constitution which says reasonable restriction on all your freedom - on your freedom of speech, freedom of work, freedom of action”.

The UPA has so far already made many restrictions by stringent laws in attempting to curb social media. They have gone as far as making even hitting the “Like” buttons punishable by law. As draconian a section as 66A has been used to arrest cartoonists and ordinary folks content that have upset some politicians. Khurshid even speaks of an “Equal opportunities commission” although it’s not clear if that was in relevance to social media or a general statement. Here’s the problem though. The govt seems unwilling or not necessary to first look into and revamp the existing regulatory bodies. The PCI Chairman appears to be more busy in making legal appeals and political statements rather than improving the functioning of the PCI or the print media.

Contrary to fear-mongering that SM may cause communal riots or violence on the streets there has not been a single instance where content from SM has led to any such incident. The closest that comes to mind are the Azad Maidan riots of August 2012 and those had little to do with SM. People on the ground used morphed images to provoke protesters in to violence. And yet, SM seems to the high priority for controls. In the other case of violence over a Facebook post it was members of a political party who indulged in violence and not ordinary people from the SM or the ground.

As for the Congress party itself, having realised it’s better to deal with the SM productively instead of a constant conflict they decided to make a major investment to enhance their image on the SM. Many sites have been blocked, banned or selectively blocked by govt ISPs without assigning reasons or without a process for appeal or reversals. This blog was blocked for a month by BSNL in July 2012 without assigning any reason. Then they lifted the block on their own. The number of requests to Google and others to remove content or block sites are one of the highest in India.

The best part of the story is that there is yet no regulatory body or watchdog for the Television media. The news channels have an absolute free run in their conduct and airing of content. What they have is a “union” which is neither a statutory body (like the PCI) nor a watch dog. This Union called the “NBA” acts more as a censor and makes decisions of what to telecast and not to telecast on behalf of its members. They collectively make these decisions which the members accept and follow. The other body they have created for themselves is the Indian Broadcasting Foundation. If you take a look at the list of people heading this body it would be absolutely clear that these are the same people from some media form or the other. In short, this too is a body for protection of the media groups and not so much the consumers. The IBF has not even published a full list of its members. That’s how transparent they are. It’s only the SM that is currently acting as an unofficial watchdog.

There is a shocking incident of actress Deepti Naval being maligned with sensational headlines by some newspapers and news sites. For a minor quarrel with residents of her society over some interview recording, the newspapers misused conversation with the actress to create horrible headlines to imply Deepti Naval was in some prostitution racket. It is the PCI Chairman’s job to take cognisance of such spurious reporting and invoke harsh punishment for the culprits. It remains to be seen what he or the PCI does.

In the meantime more attempts will be made to curb the freedoms of social media which is relatively far less harmless. They have already made many botched attempts to do so. While the opinions of the speakers are being passed of “Personal opinions” these same opinion do go into making laws. That even the Opposition hadn’t challenged the provisions of 66A is an indication how politicians become a “family” in making such laws. All this comes not so much out of concern for “regulating” freedom but gently creating and moulding opinions for more gagging of SM.

38 comments :

  1. Thanks GOD .... Ravinar is back..!!
    BTW..Awesome post..!!

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  2. Ravi, Honestly, I was really worried & very much disturbed for last 2 days with what happened around you in Twitter. You are back and it is a great news. How you get into your full form soon. May God bless you.

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  3. Ravinar,
    Thank GOD, you are back. I was worrying about your safety and have been attempting to know whether you are in some sort of trouble. Keep up the good work.
    Ram

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  4. Thank God everything is alright.I was really worried for you.
    Please let us know what actually happened to you/your twitter account.

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  5. Nice to have you back ... hope everything's alright!

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  6. Ravinar, nice to see that you are back. Was a bit worried regarding your absence. Hope everything is in order. Best regards to keep the good work on.

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  7. @Ravinar...

    For us ... You means ... the world of hope ... Please continue your service to the nation ... May God Give You More Power...!!

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  8. Good to see you back in action...........I was apprehensive about your safety. It is good to know you are safe and sound and this article proves once again your sane reasoning.

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  9. Hey guys.. Thanks but relax. Im travelling.. so the posts have a longer gap that's all. There's nothing to be concerned about..

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. @Utpal

      Thanks for your concern. You cant send me messages and then worry how I deal with it. I have also made it clear in a comment in the previous post (and many before) that this blog is not a "Twitter grievance cell". Keep Twitter issues on Twitter. I had already replied to your message and theres no offence taken.

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  10. Great that new post is there.But missing twitter screenshots :)

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  11. This post is more about Mediacrooks rising back like a phoenix then about the contents of the post itself.
    Everybody felt a part of them being orphaned there for a while since last few rought days.
    Thanks for being out there and educating us!

    Anyhos, coming back to the post.
    Social Media is an organic medium
    It can never be suppressed
    You can buy MSM & still can't bury the truth.Let alone SM!
    The shining examplpe of Freedom on Social Media is this very blog itself
    More power to Social Media. More power to Mediacrooks
    Vande Matram!

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  12. Hi Ravi, Its nice to see you back on track. You have a right to live your life and tweet what you want. But, remember you have to carry the burden of expectations rose due to your excellent work in the past couple of years. It is inevitable. So, please keep up your spirits and good work. Cheers... Enjoy... Bye

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  13. Whatever it was that bothered you enough to go on a spree yesterday.. hope that is over and u r back to being the Ravinar we all know and respect!!! I hope you are fine and nobody is trying to threaten/harm you...... our wishes and cheers to you. Hope those kinda situations never arise again for u!!! Take care!!

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  14. Four 'eminent' panelists in IBF shows the character of the organisation. They have also included Vir 'radiatapes' sanghvi.

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  15. Hey Ravi, nice to see you back in form. If you're ok now then please find some time to unblock your followers. After all we all are working for a one single cause.

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  16. Big brother is watching you, that is the message the political class is sending out
    ` 1984` all over again.

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  17. Shameless of Khurshid to twist the words of the constitution to spread his brand of nonsense. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that curbing freedom of the people is the one and only goal of the government. It only says that some freedom may be curtailed if it serves a common interest. If Khurshid really 'bows' to the constitution (wonder if a muslim can bow to anything other than his kabba!), would such words like 'I can write with blood' come out of his mouth? He and many others in the UPA are totally amoral and degenerated versions of politicians

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  18. Not sure why reading this article didn't give me the same excitement like the earlier one. Something is missing!

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    1. me too. I could just read some initial few lines. Ravi's usual style of writing is to begin with some different story and then connect to the main topic. I guess he is travelling and wrote this in a hurry.

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    2. I guess he is travelling and didn't write this.

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  19. I don't understand why the Govt. is hell bent on social media, first they need to realize that this is not possible. Social media is not any organization, it's full of fiercely independent people. Hope they revoke the 66A, it's already caused too much embarrassment to the Govt.

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  20. sir, this entire ms naval episode was not just unfortunate, it is condemnable to say the least. as strange as it sounds, the main stream media talks of self regulation when it comes to self and external regulation when it comes to social media. and our political leaders are in a league of their own. when this jadavpur university episode took place (in kolkata), when the professor was imprisoned, the entire tmc was calling social media names and when it came to garnering support for prof kalam, mamta banerjee opened her own facebook profile. therefore the logic is simple, beyond their own utility the politicians want the social media to be directed as per their own directions.

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  21. Either you are not in your usual self because of other commitments or its something else. When Kishore Kumar doesn't sound like Kishore Kumar, you know there is a problem somewhere....

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  22. As because Congress is in the receiving end with corruption and worst governance and open criticism of their first family the concern for regulation of SM becomes a top priority, an important topic. Had there been good appreciation or CHAMCHA GIRI LIKE THE TV CHANNELS this issue of censorship etc wouldn't have arisen at all For 10 years there has been anti- Modi NON STOP 24X7 hate campaign by so many among the MEDIA, NGOs and THE RULING PARTY CONGRESS GUTTER MOUTHS. Did it ever occur to them re- censor. For this filth congress CONSTITUTION IS THEIR PROPERTY and only they should be protected from allegation ,criticism.

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  23. As because Congress is in the receiving end with corruption and worst governance and open criticism of their first family the concern for regulation of SM becomes a top priority, an important topic. Had there been good appreciation or CHAMCHA GIRI LIKE THE TV CHANNELS this issue of censorship etc wouldn't have arisen at all For 10 years there has been anti- Modi NON STOP 24X7 hate campaign by so many among the MEDIA, NGOs and THE RULING PARTY CONGRESS GUTTER MOUTHS. Did it ever occur to them re- censor. For this filth congress CONSTITUTION IS THEIR PROPERTY and only they should be protected from allegation ,criticism.

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  24. Ravi, relieved to see you back blogging. Worried something was amiss. However, there is very less of you in the latest post. May be writing from TN where there is enormous load shedding! Galvanise to your peak amps, man!

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  25. Oh Great Ravinar is back...Bit worried after seeing tour tweets.

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  26. Dear Ravinar,

    I find it surprising that even on Sandeep's blog " Rediscovery of India" nothing new has been written since March 11. Hope its just a coincidence.

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  27. According to recent survey India stands at 134th position in freedom of speech ranking. Where many African countries are ahead of us. Its time to break free and not chained by some regulators. India should learn from Nordic countries which at present are best in world for all good reason, basically because the basic rights of the people are protected over there, freedom of press act was introduce in Sweden in 1766. due to lack of freedom to expression in India most of the India is unaware of the most of the genuine issues surrounding us thus blocking the growth of our country..

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  28. mediacrooks and sandeepweb i think are the last hope just like namo and subramaniam swamy. god please give them more strength.

    jaihind!

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  29. Hello Ravi,

    Nice to see you back in action..

    You said that you would quit Twitter, I didn't find your 'usual active' tweets after that. So, I deactivated my account yesterday since I came to Twitter just to read your tweets.

    Although I deactivated my account, I could not resist the temptation of visiting this blog to know as to whether you have any updates.

    As regards this particular post, my humble opinion is, your trademark sarcasm, mocking, taunting and blasting are missing!!

    Hope you will get more power and will be back in 'true form' soon and I would pray for that.

    CA Vijay Iyengar
    North York

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  30. //The UPA has so far already made many restrictions by stringent laws in attempting to curb social media//
    true.
    but how is that you always leave out coward shivsena in your posts who has attacked two teenage girls just for posting something sensible on bal thackeray's death in social media?

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  31. The UPA contains some ministers to let loose the gag order of the party's supremo. A recent one is to babu either to allow the cong in AP complete its full term or accompany juxtaposed to Jagan once, the stay is vacated over Vijayamma's petition, which is in the hands of the ruling party at the center. It was the same PC who disseminated in parliament if the journalist fling into wars and take the sword, then they must be prepared to sacrifice their life too is still ringing in my ears. therefore, unless the media is in line with the corrupt sonia cong they will obviously face the music. Opposition? Is there opposition in our nation? Strategy without tactic is sectarianism and tactics without strategy is opportunism both are harmful for democracy. the BJP owns the former the comrades own the latter

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. Brothers this is a repost of a post i read somewhere ..pay heed ..HINDUs are in Peril wake up n Vote for MODI ..

    Not a single word of this on any newspaper online edition as of now-Times of India, Hindu, ndtv, indiatimes..none of them.
    Shame on all these traitors. Just because it is hindus who are being subjected to violence and muslims perpetrating it!!- the time has indeed arrived to overturn the whole political order that has connived and still does, to suppress Hindus. Time and the angst of Hindus,will not forgive any of these silent perpetrators of crime.
    It would be disgraceful if Hindus still do not see what a state-sponsored conspiracy is being hatched against us. Down with the Congress, down with the Gandhi family. Getting Narendra modi to power is not a favour being done on BJP. if India is not to be doomed, it is a necessity. if he is not brought to power, he has nothing to lose- an honest person never loses, it is we, as Indians, if we indeed deserve prosperity, that need to ANOINT him to power.
    No point staying in India if congress comes to power in the next elections. I would be ashamed to call myself an Indian then and Indians would have gotten their just desserts if they vote congress back to power. It would become a grave-yard. Wake up fellow Indians, wake up!

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  34. Do visit the following links:
    http://t.co/Kx8S2X8nrt
    http://t.co/IxEgjeG14R

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