Google And Facebook VS India : Democracy Killing Democracy

Posted On : January 18th, 2012   By : Diptimayee Mohanty   To : Google, Search Engines, Social Media

The continual development of argument and disagreement between sites like Google and Facebook and Indian government due to posting of objectionable materials in their sites has generated as much interest regarding the future course of action by both sides. The problem started since last month when the communication minister Mr. Kapil Sibal failed to pursue the networking sites to have a control mechanism to censor the photos, videos or articles downloaded by users so that offensive materials could be removed from the sites. But the sites showed their inability to put such a mechanism.

A local journalist Vinay Rai has filed a complaint against the sites stating that these sites were responsible for the defamatory and offensive materials posted by users in their sites. Indian government has authorized prosecution against 21 sites including Google and Facebook.

The network companies filed a petition against the case in the Delhi high court to put a stay order as it is against the democratic right to have freedom of speech and expression. Google India Representative Mukul Rohatgi expressed that no human interference is possible and it is not feasible to check such incidence. Billions of content are regularly posted by users and it is next to impossible to control and verify all these posts.

Previously Google told that it may possible to remove articles that are illegal or against the local Law but it can’t remove the contents that are controversial but legal as it represents different views and ideas by different users.

Facebook also expressed the same concern and told that it is against such activities that create religious tensions and spreading message against national integration. But no current or future mechanism is possible to check such contents to be posted online. But such contents can be removed as soon as they get information about such contents.
Google and Facebook

Standing at the same side with government, Delhi high court asked the sites to have stringent check or may have got banned like in China. The court is having the view that companies should have some mechanism to check and remove such offensive materials from internet.

On Tuesday, Google told the high Court that India can’t act like a totalitarian regime like China as blocking websites is not the only option by a democratic country like India.
To clarify its statement Google showed its intention about how blocking a particular search may affect the innocent users from getting useful information by giving the example of search results of the word “virgin”

Definitely sites like Google or Yahoo and more importantly social networking sites like Facebook should respect the integrity and feelings of a nation and its people and their faith and belief and as the sites mentioned that they do the same. But the controversy aroused due to the indefinable line of action.

Google mentioned that it can’t withdraw the articles that are controversial but legal. But it should visualize the effect of such legal but controversial issues on the society. It is their fundamental duty to respect the feelings of every sectors of society and maintain the harmony and the harmony and integrity can’t be disturbed for the sake of freedom of speech and expression.

But the most important aspect in this tussle is that the government would not realize that the basic purpose of internet is to share information. Internet can be considered as the written or printed version of our physical world in every respect. Both good and bad coexist in the physical world. That does not mean we have to abandon this world. It is we to choose what we want. Likewise World Wide Web is the world of information, ideas and expressions. Both good and bad are there in the internet reflecting the real image of the physical world. Let the users decide what they wish for.

Diptimayee Mohanty
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