Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Censoring the India Web ! Why shoot Kapil Sibal?

The media, bloggers and mostly everyone seem to be up at arms against Kapil Sibal. Why? Are they acting for their personal interests? Are they psyched by larger business interest of the Indian media and Internet companies? or are they acting in the interest of free online speech. India is not China and both cannot be equated so why bring up the analogy.

If your 15 year old daughter has something offensive written about her on a social networking site that emotionally affected her. Would your opinion have been different? Would you  run about trying to get a court order to remove the comment or would you have liked it to be erased instantly?

Let us not kid ourselves. Internet companies earn large revenue and can put in systems to moderate, prescreen or atleast remove content quickly without to much of bureaucracy. There is a balance that must be struck, else regulations, penalties and censorship become inevitable. I firmly believe Internet companies should have a more transperant system and attitude towards the needs of various countries.

I would encourage Kapil to step up the pressure to get us a better mechanism to address such issue by self regulation and would personally be unhappy if we have to regulate through policy, but lots depends on the stand of the Internet companies.

Also for those who said prescreening is difficult. Perhaps correctly if we try to build technology to do so, but there could always be the use of  user rating buttons which could flag comments/blogs as inappropriate and send for moderation. I am sure there are many Indian BPO's that would gladly take up the job.

There were a mob of 500 people protesting a morphed image of Dr. Ambedkar near my house in Mumbai, burning vehicles and causing a nuisance to all. And there was the instance of London burning for days powered by messages on phones, tweets and posts. These are the consequences of freedom and democracy and we should in a democratic way decide if we want to live with them or do something else.


  1. if there is a mob going violent about morphed image of ambedkar...they are paid goons...ask police to shoot them.

    a morphed image can be created on paper and pasted n a chowk or in front of your house and can incite same passions..what will you do then.

    Your arguments are hollow and evasive.
    Better luck the next time you pen down something.

  2. Definately its a good move to have control on internet companies when they publish content against any specific community, caste or religion.

    But I guess what is causing people to shoot against Mr. Kapil Sibal is his past autocratic history in dealing with likes of democratic protests and using ways to suppress protests which they feel is going against the Congress Govt.

    Govt has gone very defensive especially in anticipation of upcoming protests and they are trying to suppress protests against their Govt hiding under the cover of offense to women or communities.

  3. Dear Hardy

    We certainly do not want to shoot our own citizens....

  4. While censorship is necessary and we may over a period of time build tools that may have capability, we may as a country also need to ensure that the solution works across languages which becomes a challenge. On a hilarious and unexpected note, I now receive text messages from international locations making an attempt to sell me services in Mumbai. My number being registered in the Do Not Call registry seems to have come to naught because of unforseen circumstances by the regulatory authority.

    Lastly appreciate your efforts at putting all these thoughts on your blogs and sharing your knowlesge and experience with all of us.