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’s brought India, could also help to magnify ancient communal tensions in a way that costs lives and, perhaps even worse, might destabilize 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 the reaches of India’s enormous lower and middle classes, accelerated the flow of rumours and of inflammatory images.
The government, unable to counter the destabilizing rumours, shut down some of the means of their dispersal. Whether 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 standardize 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.
In the recent past #censorship was a big debate on social networks; the social network authorities deactivate or block these days. 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 the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The Board regularly orders directors to remove anything it deems offensive or subjects considered to be politically subversive.
The Cinematograph Act, of 1952 governs the censorship of films. It assigns certification as Universal, Adults, and Parental Guidance to films in India before the 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.
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. A parallel system needs to strict its security norms so that any state against information and data is not within the reach of the common citizen of the country.
Being a person from Cyber Security, I know how much it is for us to fool inexperienced people on the 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 government and Militant organizations but also work towards enforcement of awareness of cybercrime. It is always better to take precautions.
A rapidly increasing two-edged sword, 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 for skewered misinformation. The perspective of an individual using a social networking site enigmatically 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 is the time to look into the role that healthy criticism, analysis, and cinema literacy, posts, cartoons, blogs or tweets rather than relying on controllers that act as moral police can play, stopping the dissent. Information technology seems to be the latest weapon for waging proxy wars.
Countries have borders and restrictions on each other’s jurisdiction, but cyberspace has no boundaries. The recent NE exodus was a disastrous moment for Indian Citizens and the Government. With 2-3 online users and a couple of hours of editing work, various groups could trigger the most massive internal exodus of People in India and nationwide protests. Most of the public who does this assumes that they do this with a false sense of secrecy.
While Cyber War between India and Pakistan is not new, something limited it to hack off each other’s websites. Interestingly, this time it may not have been carried out by so-called hackers. Since it was easier to spread hatred than to block websites, 4-to 5 social media addicts have carried the whole episode out. The law is there to prevent this, but enforcement is far from adequate. There are many such instances and evidence that one country rages its anger or one particular religion condemns another religion, hurting its sentiments online.
But we did 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 stabilize the country, the 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 social media to the forefront, relegating the print and electronic media to the background. Perhaps it is one more revolution in the history of humanity. People today believe in non-stop, one-to-one communication/conversation, rather than the mass media. Anyway, censorship might help control the situation, but this will remain superficial to the problems that the country is facing.
Making people aware of the “cyber threat” takes an hour but censorship can’t be the exact way out. India really requires proper systems to be adopted in order to be safe or else this might really create colossal disasters in the future. In the information age, we cannot lock our cyberspace because it is one of the primary tools for the sustainable development of the state. But curbing 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, we are still not guarding our information web properly and which causes recent NE exodus-type events.