Censorship – Noble intentions, screwed up execution

Mr. Sibal – Noble intentions, screwed up execution

Rather the lack of anything related to execution, I should have said. I have been seeing a lot of tweets on Twitter where Mr. Kapil Sibal is being ridiculed for his call of censoring the Online Content. To be honest, there were some cracking tweets and I loved reading those jokes!!!! 🙂

However, scratch the surface and his call in not ”totally” uncalled for. He is a learned man and his thought is absolutely justified. Let me take you through my thoughts behind supporting the statement and why it should not have been made right now.

We need online censorship. There is absolutely no two ways about it, in my humble opinion.

Well, censorship in Social Media is as relevant as censorship in films. Why is there no hoopla when a film is awarded an A rating or an U rating? Why are the scenes cut on censorship table and we accept that?

There is offensive content on the web. Offensive content on social media too. To tell you honestly, Social Media influences way more than a normal website with instigating material because Socia Media interacts. Today, lot of young kids are on Facebook and Twitter is catching up fast. Information is all which flows. Faster than the breaking news of news channels. Do we need to filter that? What’s wrong in us getting the content which flows?


So why censor? We are a diverse country. We have sectarian politics, casteism, various religions and we have a history of things happening with the slightest of instigations. As a minister, he has full right to think on those lines. Censorship is needed.

Why this kolaveri then? Because we don’t know. We don’t know what’s wrong to post, we don’t know what deserves to be filtered? Because Mr. Sibal just spoke, did not think beyond that. There are no guidelines, there has been no direction. There has been no justification.

People will react when you propose something to curb what they have always considered their right.

Believe you me, the protests are from the ones who will never post anything offensive under any proposed law and infact, the ones protesting will NEVER have any of their content compromised. I am sure of that. Mr. Sibal is no jerk. If he thinks of filtering a tweet which says, Rahul Gandhi is a jerk, then he is a jerk. I HOPE that is not the case and intention.

Also, I liked Mr. Sibal’s idea of making Google and Facebook adhere to the values and culture of India. They should not be operating and managing content in India under US Community rules.

Well, that’s my two cents.

Sent from my Nokia


About Ashutosh

A family guy who loves phones, music, movies, tea, sweats and gizmos :)
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12 Responses to Censorship – Noble intentions, screwed up execution

  1. Rakesh says:

    I disagree on some points from you, especailly on respected Kutil sorry Kapil jee. Kapil Sibbal is not as noble as he seems to be in front of cameras. Before social media, he should censor Hindi movies and TV serials which has more access to kids and teenagers. I can not afford to watch any movie and TV serial (except some comedy serials) with my parents, even being an adult. Where has his morality gone in last a few years back? It is the Anna and Baba Ramdev movement which made them to think this. Before social media censorship, he made guidelines on mass SMSs, which was not noticed by us. Actually, Govt want to stop all the tools which can mobilize the masses of this country and bring them together.

    • Ashutosh says:

      Films have censorship. Though the intention may have been prompted by the movement (which is nothing but a theory popularized by a news channel), this is a step in the right direction. With the social media explosion about to happen in India, (due to increase in smartphones’ sales also), it’s important to have a system to check the content. I am for a cyber Lokpal.

      Sent from my Nokia

  2. “Also, I liked Mr. Sibal’s idea of making Google and Facebook adhere to the values and culture of India. They should not be operating and managing content in India under US Community rules.”

    – Now isn’t that what Chinese, Saudi, North Korean or similar governments demand ? Problem is who will be that big brother?
    Censoring Internet, social media is not possible in same terms as we think of movies or other media. Here almost anyone can create and post their content.
    I also have strong doubts about motive of Mr. Sibal. When government becomes intolerant to criticism(even defamatory) then I don’t think that is good sign. Also you always have legal course of action against defamatory posts/remarks.

  3. Ashutosh says:

    Suyog, thanks for going through the article. I think you’re missing my point here. I am not for a censor system which protects the government, but something which protects the governence. If China has a censorship which considers something inappropriate in their culture but which is appropriate in US culture, why would China allow it on Google? Just so Google runs in China? Sounds a li’l illogical no? All I am saying is, this haze is there because we do not know the definition of proper and improper. But take it from me, people at large will NOT be disturbed but a censorship in an explosive growth in Social Media is a just demand. 🙂

  4. Nitish Kumar says:

    I will disagree on Noble intentions as its the same people who never had any objection on other offensive materials in media (I wont name it but you have idea of it) but “suddenly” they find a need for censoring social media now and “reportedly” becoming choosy about Govt funded ads in print media, specially when such a decision comes at a point where most of print media, social media and TV channels are hot on heels against Govt considering half an dozen ministers are either implicated or in jail on non-bailable warrants.

    Now let’s come to the point censorship in social media vs censorship in films vs censorship in real life. The last two mediums work in an entirely different way than the first and definitely films and real world need to be regulated by Govt itself in strict adherence with consensus of community (parliament\independent committees), but when it comes to Social media, then while its a magnificent tool of free communications, it always had some checks of its own, which are much more effective than Govt means.

    If community generates the content then can check the content as well. Accounts\ contents all can be taken down and traces can be handed over to govt. Facebook, Google, Twitter all been doing this in past and they would sure love to co-operate with Govt if the process needs any kind of acceleration. In real world, censorship can allow free speech to some minority community members and can tolerate a convicted terrorist against the will of community at expense of same community, while in social media I myself in my last 2-3 years interaction with social media might have taken down a number of accounts and content successfully by normal mail communication with Facebook\Orkut\Twitter authorities.

    If we see a little back toward rest part of the world, then one could easily spot that where such censorship being deployed and what it leading to in terms of freedom of speech or democracy. Do we want to follow the path of Pakistan, China, Saudi? Really?? Who will define this “we”? UPA that has 262 seats under its own name in a parliament of 543 seats? Why a sudden requirement?

    There is already a check in social media and its the community itself, its the Block, Spam buttons itself. Do we really need Govt to spend money of implementing mechanism to check the last place remained for independent free speech?

    Note that you still have used the phrase “I HOPE that is not the case and intention” while the offensive contents shown by Kapil Sibbal off the record included “Manmohan\Sonia ‘s offensive pictures” as one of them not the paintings by M. F. Hussain against the largest community of India.

    Sure, I HOPE “Sibbal ji” have a very good intention considering his track record against other democratic movements like Black Money protest by Ramdev or Lokpal Movement by Anna Hazare, but hopes alone do not convince us that we need a censorship by someone who can’t apply laws over his own team (considering their own profit). We do not need our money to be spent on technically “the most mammoth task” of last few decades from the same bunch, who has their many of team members booked under non-bailable warrants on money issues.

    Debate may sure can run on its own but a community needs a community decision/discussion rather than some one sided ruling from a collision govt.

    • Rakesh says:

      Well said Nitish……..in dept, factual and logical interpretation.

    • Ashutosh says:

      Ok. I won’t argue much here but let’s just take an example on the kind of filters I am talking about. It’s perfectly ok for an American to wear an underwear of his National Flag or any God. Do you do it? Do Indians do it? And since Google and FB are guided by their US community rules, they WILL show it.

      Sent from my Nokia

      • Nitish Kumar says:

        FB/Google/Twitter officially mentioned that they are OK to comply with Laws of individual country in handing over the traces and ready to accommodate changes in their terms and conditions for their user base. But like Google said openly and others said on paper, their point is any content would be taken down if complained against it or spread nudity etc but its totally unpractical and unethical to check on content before they go posted based on rules that are “NOT” defined / approved by the same community. Controversy is “NOT” the basis for removal, otherwise Kasab should have died long back and Congress govt would have been dismissed already

  5. Rakesh says:

    I agree with the point of view of great cartoonist “Sudhir Tailang” on a news channel on the censorship of social media. He said, “If I would have not been a cartoonist, I would have become naxalite taking gun because there are so much injustices and disparities in governance. Cartooning helps me to puncture the balloon of frustrations and take out my anger in a peaceful way.”

    In the same way, social media helps to discuss and take out frustrations of people against government and its injustices. At least, it is contributing to a peaceful society. We do not want to this country like China, Myanmar type of dictatorship where speaking against a politician and government is a sin. Govt and governance has been hijacked by some set of ineligible people and there must be different ways to protest against them. They need to change, not the people and their rights. Govt is trying to protect those ineligibles.

  6. Rakesh says:

    My blog can be viewed for more brainstorming


    On the current topic I saw a blog http://kuldipgupta.blogspot.com/2011/12/freedom-of-press.html which has a good article by a veteran writer.

  7. Rakesh says:

    Whosoever supports the “noble” intentions of our “noble” an “elected (?)” govt will have to get the err of people. People are so much happy with them 😉 And social media is the easiest way to show their feelings. Let it be slapping Pawar incident, Anna’s spontaneous happiness on that incident, Anna condemning Antonia Maino alias Sonia Gandhi and Raul Vinci alias Rahul Gandhi etc.

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