Minister of Communications and IT Kapil Sibal has in a statement affirmed that the government is not after individual accounts and websites, and is only working towards blocking offensive content. His statement comes at a time when news is rife about several Twitter accounts facing blocks. Sibal added further that the government is ready to hold discussion with stakeholders to work towards a permanent solution to the problem. Reports quoted Sibal as saying, “The difficulty is that Twitter is a site, which operates from outside India and the server of all such sites are outside the jurisdiction of India… they have said that they are ready for talks with us. But the solution to this problem should be a permanent one.”
Government working towards removing offensive content (Image credit: Getty Images
Just this morning we reported about the Twitter account belonging to the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Milind Deora (@milinddeora) being suspended. While the clear reason behind the account being suspended is not known at the moment, it comes close on the heels of the popular microblog closing down six fake PMO Twitter accounts. Speculations were also rife that the account may have been reported as being a fake or offensive by someone, using Twitter's Report Violations tool – accessible to any user. Recently, we had reported about six Twitter accounts resembling the Prime Minister's official account – PMOIndia, being shut down after the content on them was found to be objectionable. Reports a couple of days ago confirmed that Twitter agreed to block all those fake accounts after the government put forth a 12-hr deadline.
Sibal had stressed on the need of having an institutional mechanism in place to prevent the misuse of social networking websites in the country. “We have to make efforts in consultation with the websites and impress upon them to create an institutional mechanism to prevent misuse of technology,” he was quoted as saying outside the Parliament House.
The government is working along with social networking websites towards creating an institutional mechanism to check the misuse of social networking websites in the country. The recent turn of events, especially those pertaining to the widespread NE exodus in the country, shed light on the role that social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter play in our lives today. Earlier reports have already established the fact that web pages containing content offensive to the sentiments of those from the North East were splashed across the web in an attempt to incite violence and trigger fear in the country.
Sibal opined that if technology was misused, then there should be provision for punishment and that such a thing is not available at the moment. He added further, “Now we have to decide the steps we have to take under our laws on how we can take it forward so that we can seek help from these websites in the coming days. We can identify those who have misused these website and punish them.”