Internet Censorship in India?
A deluge of criticism spread among the netizens after Kapil Sibal, the Union telecom minister of India, has asked sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo to screen "derogatory" material .
This motion comes in the backdrop of social networking sites becoming increasingly popular with even applicants for jobs being rejected through their public social networking profiles. The potential of social media has also been recently proved with the recent Arab spring and also the uprising in India followed by the arrest of Anna Hazare who has been fighting for 'India Against Corruption'. This raises the question if the government of India is in fear of losing even more popularity by such content.
It is a good step to censor derogatory content from social media - especially if it is religious. But the statement by the minister saying that "objectionable" content will be removed, raises doubts as to what does "objectionable" content mean.
There are also notions that this move in India seems to have its roots in the criticism the government has been facing. This raises questions if India is going the China way.
For instance, 250 million tweets are generated per day approximately. Imagine manually verifying every tweet. And this is just for twitter. Curtailing such content on Internet is almost practically and technically impossible.
Predicting the future, the Congress (ruling party in India) - including other parties - will surely make use of social media big time in canvassing for the next elections due in 2014 which will be a decisive media - remember Barack Obama's campaign.