Monday, November 19, 2012

The Facebook Outrage

Monday’s are always difficult and I was going lazily with the day. I was chatting with a friend and he mentioned that two girls in Mumbai were charged by cops for putting a status on Facebook.  When I looked at the news I found out that the status was something in the line of - People take birth and die daily and one should not observe a Bandh for that. She and her friend were booked under Section 295 (a) of the IPC (for hurting religious sentiments) and Section 64 (a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Her friend was booked because she liked her status. Later during the day, a Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India sent a letter to CM of Maharashtra and when no response was received he sent a reminder e-mail. Initially girls were ordered to be sent for a judicial remand of 15 days but later due to the media and social pressure they were freed on a bond of Rupees 15000.
This post has got less to do with Bala Sahab or if the Girl’s status was right or not. The post is meant only for our Freedom of speech and expression. A month back someone on twitter said something to Chidambaram’s son and next day he was arrested. Following it, few days later a person was arrested for taking pictures of Chidambaram. Apparently in West Bengal whoever asks questions is labeled as a Maoist. What has truly gone wrong with the largest democracy in the world?
The way things have changed in last 1 year can be felt by citizens and more by netizens. All of a sudden Government and media have started looking into social networks. There is nothing bad if Government and everyone start looking into social media. Social media directly gives you a direct and fresh opinion of people about what’s happening in their life and country. Government should definitely look and understand people mandate, again print and electronic media should raise netizens concerns. Ironical this is not what is happening. A few people over Twitter and Facebook are doing job of being social restrictors. These people's job is to keep down anything posted against their product/parties/people.
Not the product companies but political parties are definitely afraid of social media. Still they have not embraced it and they want to control it. I need not to say about the power of social media. China has controlled internet and social media because they are afraid of an uprising. I won’t even discuss about the much happened uprising in Egypt which started from a Facebook status. Similarly I will not point out the fact that much of support for Anna’s Lokpal was generated from social networks and that is how a huge mass was gathered at Delhi.
My dear Government/Kapil Sibbal, if you really want to tap the youth, the India where average age of 50% population is below 25, there is a need to connect. Government needs to come down to social network, to promote healthy debate and increase participation. Please don’t act on outrage of people over Social Network, it will never curb the freedom of speech and expression instead you will always bear the brunt of people for doing this stupidity. New generation might look stupid (and sometimes they are) but no one likes you as well. People have habit of forming an opinion and no one likes to get into the details. Please don’t outrage the already frustrated Indians who take out their anger on social networks instead of walking around the streets. Else believe me it’s going to be bad, seriously bad.

PS – 1: Going by logic of filing police report against a status, entire India should file a defamation suit against Rober Vadra who complained about ‘Mango Man’.
PS – 2: Someday when I get my hand on Aakash, I will like to see if they have Facebook/Twitter Apps installed or not.

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