Saturday, August 25, 2012

IT Minister's twitter account blocked - 'blame it across border' attitude


‘blame it on Pakistan’ is the easy way out for politicians who cannot handle things properly… for the NE exodus from Southern states, the Govt. was quick to speak of the social networking sites, some from across the border fanning panic and rumour.  After some relentless pressure and tough posturing by the Govt, Twitter has finally removed six accounts similar to that of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for posting objectionable content even as the microblogging website agreed to hold talks with Indian authorities to break the current impasse on the blocking of web pages having inflammatory material.

The Govt conveyed firmly that it was keen to stop misuse of social media and the Internet in spreading rumours and false propaganda to create communal and social tensions. However, it reiterated that it was against any kind of restrictions on freedom of expression.  The  Twitter perhaps took it too casually and took long time in acting  against six persons impersonating the PMO on the microblogging website,  by which time, the damage was done.

Kapil Sibal went record stating that the  names of the objectionable sites  were provided to the groups and they cooperated in closing them down.  Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde refuted charges that the government was targeting any particular individual.  You might be interested in checking whether your twitter account is valid now and try tweeting to say that you are live and kicking as the Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora found himself at the receiving end.  Milind Deora got a taste of censorship when his Twitter account was blocked. Moments after Mr. Deora wrote on his Twitter handle that “there is absolutely no intent of the government to curb freedom of social media platforms,” his account got blocked. On trying to visit Twitter profile, the message said: “The profile you are trying to view has been suspended.”

Whether censorship or not, there cannot be no two views that there has to be clampdown on “hate speech”.  Often in that name the Govt would try to stifle its opponents, as the reported case of investigation in to the funds of an NGO of Manish Sisodia after his high-profile association with the Anna Hazare-led anti-corruption movement.  At the same time, there has always existed prejudiced coverage of incidents targetting some community and often it is reported that rich countries fund media to ensure that only the view that they want gets presented to the common public and the reality is never known.  You might be surprised to know that Al Jazeera is covering the NE situation in an expanded manner.  While their coverage of Palestinian, Gaza strip etc., are regular, this one on NE India perhaps has a tinge. Reportedly it had a Pakistani columnist for the debate on the crisis.  

There is an interesting newsitem in First Post which mentions that while every one sees the exoneration by the Supreme Court of P Chidambaram in 2C Scam as a relief, there is some trouble as the SC had seemingly suggested that Chidambaram and the PM may have made wrong judgments, or managed the issue poorly.  Worse, the court also noted that even though Raja had communicated to the PM about the changes he was making in the first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy for telecom licences and spectrum, the latter did not get back. This meant the PMO had no objections to Raja’s method of licence allocation. These observations should be more than embarrassing for the PM especially when the Parliament is rocked by ‘coal-gate’.

Getting back to Cricket, the Kiwis are unable to fly and are pinned by the Indians at Hyderabad – whether Indians can take the 10 wickets in the 2nd winnings faster and beat the climatic rain appears to be the question as follow-on appears to be a certainty.  Playing with NZ, England, Aussie is Ok – but the one with our neighbouring Pakistan – the last bilateral series between the two was in late 2007, when Pakistan toured India.   There has been no games at Pakistan since the March 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus.

The Pak Cricket Board has bee reeling under financial loss though most players are now earning in the Srilankan Premier league now underway.  Last month, the BCCI decided on resuming cricketing ties ;  to a commoner, this looks a move forward – but this is viewed as a grant of largesse by infirm Politicians and Questions have been raised as to whether we are right in bending so much after having criticized US and other countries of mollycoddling Pakistan despite its proven bad behaviour – there is also the Q as how US will react when after the next terror attack, India once raises the same queer pitch of US should take action against Pak when we are entertaining them in posh hotels – when people die out of terrorism.  Does it really make sense when you cry on top that even the present NE exodus is linked to online activism from across the border

Read : why Cricket with Pakistan is not a good idea !! - Cricket with Pak

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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