Last time I checked we were still living in a democratic country and we had something called Freedom of Speech. And that included the right to criticize people based on personal opinion. There are some exceptions governed by the laws of the land but essentially, expressing ones opinion did not mean that you are breaking some law.
Indian government is however living in a different world altogether. Our telecom minister Kapil Sibal is reportedly annoyed by people expressing their opinion on social networks like Facebook. The specific example given was negative in nature towards Sonia Gandhi who is the leader of the ruling Congress party.
Reports say that Sibal claimed that such online activities are totally unacceptable and social networks have to monitor posts by their users in real time. In fact, he went on to demand that all the content posted on social networks should be monitored by humans before they are posted online for public view.
This is absurd in addition to practically impossible. Most online services work on a simple principle… If some user generated content is found to be offensive in nature, it is dealt with after a proper complaint is filed. The poster is given a chance to defend himself and that is how it should be.
Sibal apparently met with representatives of some of the largest internet companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and Google today. We are not sure what was discussed. But the fact remains… what he is expecting is impossible to implement and probably goes against the rights given to us Indian citizens by the Constitution of India.
People living in a democratic society should have the right to express their opinion no matter what the medium is. Internet has been one of the most empowering tools we have seen for the common man in a long time. Government is threatened by this fact. You and I need to make sure that they do not break it just to satisfy their own egos.