A glance at the newspapers today clearly brings out the development in the field of internet censorship. Well it is true that there is always something to rabble a rouse around here. I had always thought that statistics are just a number and their importance is of a diminished value as compared to the analysis and opinion. But one such stats today makes me question my earlier belief of the same.
‘Mediaphobia’ as coined in the editorial of The Hindu today, is the new concept of the fear of media. Now what are the reasons for someone to be afraid of the media? Well, few answers maybe showing of the adult content- the easy access to free pornographic sites to the minors, or the expression of hatred causing a religious sentiment to be hurt or maybe the creation of distrust and unrest in the functioning of a govt, leaking of military secrets or foreign relations and many such issues. However, the stats seem to make a different statement after all.
The editorial today shows that according to the Google’s transparency report, 70% of the issues opposed by the govt agencies in 2011 were related to political criticism. Now that’s an interesting stat I would say. More so, another fact that caught my attention was that the reason as to why the hue and cry about the censorship started. Apparently, it was a facebook page found maligning the image of Sonia Gandhi and the second one- something relating to pornography. Well the latter reason makes some sense but what about the first one? Another reason mostly stated is about being hurtful to religious sentiments. Now that’s again a sensible reason.
Now that they want to introduce the screening of the posts, how do they plan to identify the reasons and the sites in a huge encyclopedia called the internet? Twitter proposes micro-censorship to block the process and google is racking its brain as to how to manage the loads of traffic it has in its system. Anyways that’s another issue altogether. For now, the question still remains. Is the censorship a way to mask the people’s opinions so that no opposition made against a ruling govt makes an impact on the regular readers? Is it a way to indoctrinate us people to one ideology? When there is a censorship, it is obvious that the one dept in control of a ruling division of the govt wouldn’t easily publish that. And so would be many opinions finally resulting in only a positive set of responses to a policy or a type of governance- Indoctrination Huh! ?!
We as a democracy have always talked about freedom of speech and expression, right to participate in the functioning of the govt. Now how is blocking a certain political content on the net a part of this democratic policy? I would definitely agree to block the type of info that causes unrest in the normal public life but not the ones which make info. We are about to step into a world which is getting completely digitized. Imposing restrictions even before it grows would be a harsh punishment for the crime not committed. There are delicate issues which need to be regulated, but please, let us act a little more thoughtful and be open to the criticisms for let us face it, that is the only way we can grow. And when we talk about democracy, what better way than to accept the multiple opinions with an open mind and an open thought for let us understand that we are a growing democracy and the way ahead is not by wailing at things, but it is at taking them in a stride and letting the true opinions and thoughts matter where they do.