Friday 22 February 2013

Facebook to be banned/censored in Mumbai, Dharmadhikari Panel suggests changes

Facebook to be banned/censored in Mumbai,  Dharmadhikari Panel suggests changes
Image courtesy socialmediawiz.biz

Monitor Internet, curb networking sites like Facebook, cell phones, vulgar chats and sharing of photos, suggested the Dharmadhikari Committee, in its third interim report to the Maharashtra State Government.  The Committee had been appointed by the Maharashtra State Government to recommend measures to curb the atrocities against women.  I fail to understand how Facebook, Mobile or sharing of photos increase any unwanton act of hostility towards women.

The bais point to be understood in reading the committee's report is that, it has laid a square blame on mobiles, social networking, chats and sharing of photos as a prime driver for crimes against women.  This means that if the state government implements the report, there could be a possible ban on Facebook.  

I fail to understand why "networking, Facebook, mobile phones and vulgar and indecent conversations and exchange of pictures" are deemed to have increased the atrocities on women.  The report which is Marathi, seems to blame the mobile phones and the current fixation of today's truly mobile and Internet savvy generation on Facebook and other social sharing tools,  for the atrocities against women.  

The logic is highly biased and prone to questions.  The so called crimes against women have existed in India since times immemorial.  When the Internet boom started gathering pace in India, the first reaction from the ordinary layman was that Internet is a reservoir of unwanted material and the children's mind will get corrupted due to the vast and unfathomable information available on the Internet highway.  In those days sites like Net Nanny, Cyber Snoop, Cyber Patrol, Cybersitter 2000, Internet Guard Dog  cropped up offering over cautious parents control over the contents their kids can watch.  

However the term control is a highly double edged sword on Internet. It is very hard to distinguish what a 'Good' site or 'Bad' site is.   The sites sometimes blocked the very sites the children could gain information from.  Any content protection software works with the help of bots identifying the keywords in the web page.  Sometimes even smartest filters couldn't scan  and filter the right from the wrong.  So this failed.  Then the age of Orkut began, the first fully networked site, it allowed teenagers to find friends on the net based on their age, choice and similar wavelengths.  The Facebook was in it early teens.  People could have friends across the globe and be friends with anybody they wanted.  Again the issue of privacy and content cropped up.  The Orkut faded into background and Facebook took its place and the Android generation took birth.

The current generation of teenagers, who obviously are more glued to the mobile screens  then anything on TV.  They can now post their mind, share the photo's and images they like and pretty much do anything with their mobile.  The Facebook's 'Like' button has become a tool of youths today, to imprint their own identity in the Internet world.  The Instagram and Flikr gave them new kind freedom to evolve their creativity, they could identify themselves with.  Sharing their favourite pages, comments and images has given them a new found freedom that we as their peers could only dream of.    This phenomenon has been a boon to the majority of kids and young ones.  

Like all other things human, there is going to be a bad apple in the basket.  Due to lack of any controls over Internet, some people have used it and will continue using it for their own gains, monetary or otherwise.  Sending unwanted images, films, giving comments in foul language, chatting with foul language is their modus operandi.  They do it for the sake of their own perverted mind or due to a rebellious streak in them.  

To control these kind, the people and Governments all over the world are trying and will try to enforce some kind of control over Internet.  But as far as I see it no one can control this juggernaut. 

Internet, is based on the principles of self censorship.  It is upto me to post or see whatever I want.  If I decide that I am not going to watch unwanted images, films, surf unwanted pages, say or listen to any foul language, nobody can make me do it.  This applies to any surfer.  

Slowly and surely this kind of mentality will pervade all the netizens, though there will be bad apples in any case.  Blaming whole of the net for some inbalanced act of few rouges will not cure anything.  It will just increase the frustration in today's young generation as through the Internet, they have a way of letting others know what they think.  

I don't think the State Government of Maharashtra has the will and fancy or  the support of majority of citizens of Maharashtra to implement this report.  However, politics across the world has been known to thrust some of the impossible decisions down the throat of the citizens.  If that happens, it will be a saddest day for the people of Maharashtra and Mumbai.  Freedom is best left alone to understand it.

Vijay Prabhu

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  1. A bad news for FB lovers :( Yes they will never like this decision of the government

  2. Rehmat Bro, I dont think the Maharashtra Government has will to implement this but politics throws strange decisions, so lets see.



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