Why is Kapil Sibal Trying to Gag Social Networks?

Kapil Sibal's threat to Social Networking Sites

Kapil Sibal has threatened the social networking sites like Facebook and Google of severe action.
Kapil Sibal has threatened the social networking sites like Facebook and Google of severe action. | Source

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Kapil Sibal threatens Social Networking Sites


Controversial articles create traffic in the internet

Kapil Sibal, the telecom minister of India has asked the social networking sites like Yahoo, Facebook, Google etc to control what is published in their sites. Kapil Sibal says that there are many controversial matters posted in social networking sites that are obscene, hurt the religious sentiments and depict the political leaders in poor light. He conducted a meeting with the Indian leaders of these networking sites and asked them to comply or face action. In other words, Kapil Sibal has threatened the social networking sites of dire consequences if they do not toe his line. Many people have opposed Kapil Sibal’s threats and are up in arms against the Congress government. The Congress government previously imposed an Emergency and gagged the press freedom. Now it is trying to redo this act. The social networking sites have expressed their inability to ban an article simply because it is controversial. It is the controversial articles that drive the internet traffic for websites. Websites love controversial articles. They attract huge readership. Non controversial articles are simply ignored by the Netizens. Social networking sites make millions of dollars revenue through such controversies. There is even competition among them to attract the ‘real stuff’.

Will Sibal ask the Censor Board to weed out inappropriate from films?

What Kapil Sibal says is cent per cent true. Internet is an ocean. There are both good and bad things in it. There are inappropriate sites. Many people visit these sites and enjoy them. In fact, such pages receive maximum traffic in the internet. But my question is if such websites are shut out, will people stop looking at such themes? More than 90% of the movies produced in India and abroad contain blatant abuse of relationships. Even censored films have inappropriate scenes in the movie. Duet songs exhibit such themes openly. There are double meaning dialogues. In the television, emotionally kindling contents are openly shown and even school students view them at their homes or in their friends’ or neighbours’ houses. Journals openly display pictures of both men and women in inappropriate poses. Advertisements contain unwarranted postures as main theme. An entire industry practice their trade freely all over India. School girls become mothers. There are relationships in abundance and these things are on the increase. Now Kapil Sibal, tell me, what are you going to do about these things? Internet is not the culprit here. In fact only a tiny percentage of population in India use internet. A vast majority of the population do not even know the meaning of Internet. Therefore Kapil Sibal should not bluff people when he says that these inapporopriate items are displayed in the Internet. First let Kapil Sibal frame a law and tackle the menace of such problems outside Internet. Then let him come to the Internet. Before Sibal talks about controlling social networking sites, let him control the film censor board that functions under his own control to remove inappropriate scenes from the movies.

M F Hussain’s inappropriate paintings can be seen outside internet also

Then, there are websites and postings in the social networking sites that hurt the religious sentiments of people. M F Hussain’s paintings depicting Hindu Goddesses in inappropriate postures are displayed in many websites and social networking sites in the Internet. This definitely hurts the religious sentiments of the Hindus and more so because the author of these paintings is a devout Muslim. Definitely there is validity in what Kapil Sibal is saying. But M F Hussain’s paintings of inappropriate pictures of Hindu goddesses are exhibited outside the Internet also. They are displayed in art galleries, decorate the walls of many houses and are stored in many photo albums all over India. People exchange these albums freely and ‘enjoy’ these paintings to their heart’s content. Now tell me Kapil Sibal, what are you going to propose to control this? Internet has nothing to do with it.

Politicians loot hundreds of crores rupees

I fully agree with Kapil Sibal that political leaders are depicted in a poor light in the Internet. But is this situation any different outside Internet? Do the media depict Indian politicians as Gods that have descended to the earth to serve the people of India selflessly? Many newspapers and journals criticise the politicians and make fun of them, draw caricatures depicting the leaders in poor limelight. What has Kapil Sibal to say about this? How is he going to tackle this? Many politicians loot people’s money and enrich themselves. They care the least about laws and courts. They are a class above the people. Therefore people naturally view them with antagonism.

Sonia Gandhi is accused

The real purpose of Kapil Sibal’s threat to the social networking media is not to control inappropriate writings hurting religious sentiments and writings depicting politicians in poor limelight. The real purpose was to control scurrilous writings against the Congress President Sonia Gandhi. There are many postings in the Internet sites accusing Sonia Gandhi for pocketing the 2G spectrum money. Such kinds of accusation do not appear in the media outside Internet. There is a good reason for it.

Will Times of India publish an article against Sonia Gandhi?

Suppose somebody writes an article which says that Sonia Gandhi should be the ultimate beneficiary in the 2G spectrum scam. The article, let us say, does not cite any proof for this. But it cites strong arguments in favour of the accusation. Suppose the article says that since Congress Party is not forthcoming to name the beneficiary and take action against him, Sonia Gandhi should be the ultimate beneficiary. Such a kind of article, let us say, is sent to an Indian newspaper, say Times of India. Will the Times of India editor publish this article? No chance. The article will be consigned into the dustbin. But if the same person posts the article in an internet website or his blog, it will be published because he need not have to depend on anybody’s permission to post his views.

Sibal can say that Supreme Court is an idiot

Now Kapil Sibal may say that this is a scurrilous writing without proof. But those who read the article may say that it is an article well reasoned out. They may pose a counter question that if Sonia Gandhi is not the real beneficiary, then who else is? For this Kapil Sibal may say that no 2G scandal has ever taken place and that the government has not lost single paise in the 2G spectrum allocation. It is doubtful whether even Kapil Sibal’s wife will believe this story. Supreme Court is carefully monitoring the 2G spectrum case and many have been arrested. Of course Kapil Sibal has the liberty to say that the Supreme Court is an idiot and investigating on something where no scandal has taken place at all.

Why should the BCCI appoint commentators and pay huge money to them?

Let me quote another example. There are many scandals involving the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). BCCI is such a powerful entity in India that it almost runs a parallel government. BCCI recently appointed Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shasthri as commentators for matches involving India. It paid them lavishly at the rate of Rs.1.36 crore per person per annum. Why should the BCCI incur expenditure for this? First of all, why should the BCCI appoint commentators? BCCI is not running any TV channel first of all. The private TV channels telecasting the matches should appoint the commentators at their expense. BCCI has favoured the two influential cricketers and doled out big money. BCCI is not spending money to create facilities for the cricket fans who visit the stadiums. For example in M A Chidambaram Stadium Chennai, there are no parking spaces for the spectators. Outside food is not permitted and food inside is sold at an exorbitant rate. Now if somebody writes an article questioning the decisions and actions of BCCI and mails it to, say, Deccan Chronicle, will the Editor publish it? The Editor might be receiving complimentary passes for him and for his family to see matches. When he is enjoying the hospitality of the BCCI, will he be a fool to damage all these things by publishing a controversial article about BCCI? But the same article can be posted in a blog or website or social networking site. This is the power of the internet. More and more people have stopped reading newspapers and have switched over to the internet to read and watch news. Internet can be accessed in a mobile phone residing in the shirt pocket. Here one finds different views and facts that hitherto have not surfaced.

For Ram, denigrating Hindu gods is okay, but extending to Islamic God is sacrilege

Suppose a person writes that M F Hussain’s action in painting Hindu goddesses in inappropriate poses hurts the religious sentiments of the Hindus and mails it to the newspaper The Hindu, will the editor N Ram publish it? He will throw it into the dustbin. But if another person writes an article condemning the caricature of Prophet Mohammad by the Danish cartoonist or burning of Koran by the pastor in USA, then Ram will happily publish it in the front page of his newspaper. This is because the Chief Editor of The Hindu N Ram considers it an appreciable art work to paint Hindu Goddesses in inappropriate postures, but considers it obnoxious to caricature Prophet Mohammad or to burn Koran. Ram may have his own valid reason. He may say that since Prophet Mohammad and the Holy Koran are held in esteem by millions of Muslims, it is wrong to depict Prophet Mohammad in poor light in a cartoon or to burn the Holy Koran. Ram may consider it as a sacrilege which should be condemned and punished. But another person may reason out differently. He may say that just like Prophet Mohammad is held in high esteem by millions of Muslims, the Hindu goddesses are also held in high esteem by millions of Hindus. If caricaturing Prophet Mohammad or burning of the Holy Koran is wrong, then depicting Hindu Goddesses in inappropriate poses is also wrong, he may reason, which Ram may dispute. Ram may say that as long as one confines to insulting only Hindu goddesses, it is fine and it is to be appreciated. But once he crosses the limit and touches the Muslim God, then he should be punished. This may be the theory Ram may be following and believing as correct. He has every right to do so. What I say is that a person can criticise M F Hussain’s actions and get his comments posted in the Internet. Millions of people may read it also.

Internet offers a chance to everybody to express his/her opinion

Internet is a godsend blessing to millions of viewers. Different views are expressed. Some views may appeal to some people and may be opposed by some others. It is all part of democracy. People take the views they appreciate and like. They reject what they do not approve. It is all part of democracy. The best thing about internet is that it offers a chance to all to express their views in the form of articles, photographs, paintings, cartoons, artwork, videos and comments. One can also desist from participation and simply enjoy reading the contents of websites that appeal to him. Internet is not like a newspaper or journal. In a newspaper, there is an Editor who approves things and then publishes. In Internet, there are no such persons in many of the websites and blogs (of course in some of the sites, the matter has to be approved by the Editor).

Physically not possible to censor internet contents

Moreover it is physically not possible for the social networking sites to read beforehand every comment or posting or video or photo and censor the contents. It is humanly impossible as millions of comments get posted every day. Internet works 24 hours a day for seven days a week without any rest or holiday. Sibal can take action against any individual who writes scurrilously in the websites. But Sibal says that many such people who write scurrilous articles are not in India and reside abroad. But the same thing is applicable for content outside Internet also. Let us say that there is a Spanish magazine being published from the Spanish city of Barcelona. A Spaniard has posted an inappropriate photo of a Spanish girl in that magazine and let us say that it gets published also. Of course, it is an inappropriate photo and its publication is a condemnable act. There is no doubt about it. An Indian tourist to Spain purchases this magazine and brings it back to India and shows it to his friends and family. How can Sibal prevent this from happening? The author of that inappropriate photo is a Spaniard residing in Barcelona. If any action is to be taken against that person, one has to take it under Spanish laws coming within the jurisdiction of Barcelona. What action Sibal can take against that person?

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Comments 4 comments

mansi 4 years ago

i completely disagree ur point about article on nude hindu goddess and buring koran.

While depictiong nude hindu Goddess is not vulgar even temple with goddess are there while burning Koran can bring out and uproar in muslim community and create disturbances.you should understand the diffrence both before saying anything


ramkimeena profile image

ramkimeena 4 years ago from India Author

Depicting nude goddesses has created the same uproar and unrest in India also. M F Hussein's house was attacked, he was threatened and in fact he was forced to go out of India. It is wrong to say that only burning Koran can create unrest and depicting Hindu Goddesses in nude will be taken softly and appreciated by the Hindus of India. It is a complete misunderstanding of the facts.


rocky 4 years ago

Please stop posting obsecnce on website or creat the law to protect it will hurt many people.and cause many damages to the society.


ramkimeena profile image

ramkimeena 4 years ago from India Author

Are M F Hussein's paintings about Hindu goddesses not obscene? Why can't the government include this also in the list of banning? Why it is talking only about Internet? This is because many websites are suggesting that Sonia Gandhi is the ultimate beneficiary of the 2G spectrum scandal and the government wants to ban such things. M F Hussein's paintings do not involve any attack on Sonia Gandhi. This is the real reason.

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