Communications and IT minister Kapil Sibal’s move to regulate online content is inviting a barrage of barbs on the very social media sites — Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus — which he aims to muzzle.
Sibal’s Wikipedia profile was edited 21 times by web users and activists on Tuesday . His profile was locked later in the evening due to a large amount of web activists trying to edit simultaneously, describing him in unkind words.
The MP from Chandni Chowk had to face barbs also from fellow politicians. J&K CM Omar Abdullah tweeted saying, “I hate the idea of censorship. But have seen for myself how dangerous inflammatory content on Facebook and You-Tube can be.” Hashtag #Kapilsibal and #Censorship were the hot trending topic on Twitter globally. Noted filmmaker Pritish Nandy tweeted saying “This is my country. Freedom of speech is my birthright. You can go to hell sir.” Stock broker Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was upset too. “If Sibal wants to jail us for speaking our mind on the Internet, go ahead! We’ll just go ahead and get bail like Kanimozhi,” tweeted Jhunjhunwala. “I hate some of the stuff written on the Internet, but I’d hate it even more if they were not allowed to write it. You can’t censor the Internet. You shouldn’t censor the Internet.
That’s it,” said author Chetan Bhagat. “The Internet is the only truly democratic medium. Can see why Sibal wants to gag it.” said BJP MP Varun Gandhi. Some others such as Shashi Tharoor sat on the fence. “Spoke to Kapil Sibal.
He assured me he opposes political censorship . Concern is regarding communally inflammatory images and language which he described,” Tharoor tweeted. Sibal was, however, supported by his colleague Milind Deora who tweeted: “Just as principle of free speech is sacrosanct , incendiary content must also be avoided.” About 73 ‘hate’ pages against Sibal have erupted on Facebook.
For a nation that has close to 121 million users, of which 43 million users are on Facebook, 3.6 million on Google plus and 3.5 million on Twitter, the move to muzzle social content understably invited ire.
Some users suggested that Sibal should be sent Farmville ‘requests’. “To have a human inspection of what goes on the internet every second will require more than the population of the country,” said Atul Chitnis, a Bangalore-based technologist and an avid tweeter.