In the recent past #censorship was a big debate on social network; these days many accounts are getting deactivated or blocked by the social network authorities. In general, censorship in India, which involves the suppression of speech or other public communication, raises issues of freedom of speech which is protected by the Indian Constitution. A classic example of censorship in India is the Central Board of Film Certification or Censor Board, which comes under the purview of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The Board regularly orders its directors to remove anything that deems offensive or any subject that is considered to be politically subversive. The censorship of films is governed by the Cinematograph Act, 1952. It assigns certifications as Universal, Adults, and Parental Guidance to films in India before public exhibition.
The Indian government has earlier blocked around 250 websites, ordered Google and Facebook to pull content, threatened legal action against Twitter if it doesn’t delete certain accounts and has arrested several people for sending provocative text messages, all in the name of public safety. Despite the government’s persistence may not be as clear-cut as a case of state domination and over-reach. It turns out that the Indian government might be right to fear that technology, for all the very real benefits it has brought to India, could also be helping to magnify ancient communal tensions in a way that could cost lives and, perhaps even worse — it might destabilise the delicate social balance within the world’s second-largest country. Technology didn’t cause any of this, of course! But social media and text messaging, both of which are becoming increasingly common in reaches of India’s enormous lower and middle classes, accelerated the flow of rumours and of inflammatory images. The government, unable to counter the destabilising rumours, shut down some of the means of their dispersal. Whether or not the Indian government’s censorship does anything to calm this crisis, their apparent desperation is understandable.
Still, India’s willingness to censor the web is part of the government’s longer-running effort to standardise the Internet, to which western governments and web freedom advocates have persistently objected. Some of India’s sweeping restrictions compel web companies like Google and Facebook to self-police, and then self-censor, any content that could be perceived as profane or offensive to ethnic groups. Web freedom activists distinguish this as little more than an excuse for online authoritarianism, and they’re probably often correct. We cannot isolate ourselves from this, but can make a safe distance to access genuine information. And parallel system needs to strict its security norms so that in any state, information and data should not be in the reach of common citizens of the country.
Being a person from Cyber Security, I know how much it is simple for us to fool the inexperienced people on Internet and then use those resources to do something illegal and improper. There should be a body which will not only work towards the security of cybercrime in the government and militant organisations but also work towards the enforcement of awareness about cybercrime. It is always better to take precautions. Rapidly increasing two-edged sword, the social media has created a vibrant online community and widened public discourse, allowing a platform for activists with a thousand causes. On the flip side, it has also become a vehicle of skewered misinformation. The prospective of an individual using a social networking site in an enigmatic manner is much more in a social networking site than in a social media. There is no procedure for registration and ownership, and so there is no way to pin down the culprits.
Censorship has become a weapon in the hands of the State to make people agree with its ideology. Now, it is the time to look into the role that can be played by healthy criticism, analysis, and cinema literacy, posts, cartoons, blogs or tweets, rather than relying on controllers who act as a moral police and discontinue the dissent. Information technology seems to be the latest weapon of waging proxy wars. Countries have borders and restrictions to each other’s jurisdiction, but cyber space has no boundaries. NE exodus was a disastrous moment for Indian citizens and government. With 2-3 online users and couple of hours of editing work, various groups were able to trigger the most massive internal exodus of people in India for nationwide protests. Most among the public who do this assume that they do this with a false sense of secrecy.
While cyber war between India and Pakistan is not new, it was limited to hacking of each other’s websites. The law is there to prevent this, but enforcement is far from adequate. There are many such instances and evidences that one country rages its anger or one particular religion condemns another religion hurting its sentiments online. The fact that there is a proof of some Pakistani organisations uploading obnoxious and provocative stuff on the Internet, leading to the exodus of people from Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and other cities, which shows that some elements from across the border want to knock off the balance of our country. To prevent their designs, we should defy such provocations. In the wake of the Assam riots, the rest of the country should stand together to condemn all forms of violence. But we do not do so. It was our prejudice and lack of unity that contributed to the success of the mischief-mongers. To control the situation and stabilise the country, government opted for censorship. There is no point in blaming the government. At least the educated should take pains to verify the truth. Pointing a finger at Pakistan will not solve the problem. The crisis has brought the social media to the forefront, relegating the print and electronic media to the background. Perhaps, it is one more revolution in the history of mankind. It is clear that people today believe in non-stop, one-to-one communication/conversation, rather than the mass media.
Anyways, for the time being censorship might help controlling situations but this will remain as a superficial treatment of the problems that the country is facing. Making people aware of the “cyber threat” is the need of hour, but censorship can’t be the exact way out. India really requires to adopt proper systems in order to be safe or else this might really create big disasters in the future. In the information age, we cannot lock our cyberspace because it is among one of the main tools for the sustainable development of the state. But curbing of cyber-attack in any form, either cyber war or putting illegitimate material on the web, has really become necessary around the globe. Though we are having strict policies but still we are not protecting our information web properly. Technology can be a great rescuer, but can it sometimes be a public menace?
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