Gagging the social-media
Limited control and self-discipline need of the hour
VIEWPOINT BY ANIL ANAND
The social media or the social networking sites have changed the meaning of life in a short span of time. A great unifier! Yes. The range of connectivity of this new found medium is phenomenal and so could be its influence.
The social media is a virtual lost and found story for many, albeit Bollywood tales. This is one significant aspect of the multi-task mechanism which has been instrumental in uniting many old friends, acquaintances and relatives across the globe. Connecting with the old school and college- mates after decades of separation; indeed it is exhilarating.
But like many other worldly things, the social media is a mixed blessing. It can, as in the case of Assam killings’ aftermath, suddenly turn from a unifier to a tormentor. Closer home, its impact, both positive and negative, was witnessed in the recent past both in Jammu and Kashmir and now it is in full play with all its negativity and spreading hatred against a particular group of class of people.
Well to say that the social media and networking sights are a mixed bag will not be out of place. The proverbial good ultimately must prevail over the evil which in the long run would be a boon in resolving the societal conflicts and cementing the diversity particularly in the Indian context.
The incidents of past few days with social media adding to the grist of rumour mills and provoking wholesale exodus of the people of North-East origin working in different parts of the country has led to a fresh debate on the real utility of this medium. There is certainly a strong vested interest which is working overtime to spread hatred by turning an ethnic conflict into a communal one.
Nothing can and should work without any command and control. And so should be the case with the social media. But does that imply slamming of a gag order. It can act as a stopgap arrangement for administrative purposes to tide over a serious situation. But those advocating total banning and scanning of such sites including the services available on the mobile telephony are asking for moon. It is not impossible but undesirable.
It is no one’s case to plead for unbridled freedom to the social networking sites or the media. Everything comes with a cost so is this technology which has almost become an integral part of many people. There is also no denying the fact that the governments have to perform their duties to quell any mischievous intent that could lead a possible disaster. Certain conditionality’s and guidelines can be prescribed to ensure a limited control.
Such measures could become part of an emergency mechanism with an eye on the mischief-mongers, anti-social and anti-national elements. Broadly speaking, the thrust should be on self-discipline and self- accountability rather than a regimented regime to curb any kind of freedom.
The social networking sites have certainly made contact building easier. It has brought people together and provided easy mechanism to make new friends across the world. It has become a vehicle of focused advertising creating and providing employment opportunities for many. But the lurking question still remains to be addressed. Can social networking sites really improve the quality of people's lives? It is natural to ask this question in the backdrop of current happenings in the southern parts of India and the North-East.
If information sharing is a boon, this has proved to be fatal many a time. Apart from causing monetary loss or leading to suicides, on a broader scale the social sites as a vehicle of rumour mongering has caused great loss to the society .On the self-discipline front one way could be that the users of these network weigh and use every bit of information with scepticism. Confirmation and reconfirmation should be the name of the game. In this the governments and the administration should develop mechanisms to help people on this front during trying times such as the developments taking place in Bengluru, Chennai and Hyderabad.
A serious problem with the social networking sites is that they provoke extreme reactions. You either like it or hate it. There are no go betweens. The rise of social networking sites have been phenomenal partly due to the immense freedom it affords. While the internet made the world a global village, the social networking sites brought the world to the bedroom and study.
Exemplary punishment for misuse should be the government’s endeavour rather than censorship. Tracking down the culprits or rumour mongers behind mischievous SMSs and MMSs might be difficult. But it can be made easier through the use of latest technology which is readily available.
On the political front, the players should resist the temptation of turning and evaluating such serious happenings into vote gaining or losing mechanisms. Good that after initial reactions on the stated party lines, the political leaders closed their ranks on the floor of the two Houses of Parliament and expressed the resolve to quell the mischief.
(The author is New Delhi Bureau Chief of Greater Kashmir. Feedback at: email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 19 Aug 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 19 Aug 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 20 Aug 2012 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OPINION
Srinagar, Aug 19: Continuing with its endeavour, the Kashmir American Humane Society (KAHS), a Los Angeles based non-profit organization today said that it will adopt more underprivileged families in Kashmir More
- Srinagar City
We The Srinagarites
DO they fleece customers to make them lighter for flight? Asks BA Bashir Believe it or not but one small piece of land in world famed Kashmir enjoys immunity of being away from the application of More
SKUAST-J backtracks From Promise Of Providing Jobs
Jammu, Aug 19: Over two dozen farmers in Chatha Pind area on the outskirts of state’s winter capital are facing gross injustice at the hands of the authorities of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture More
London, Aug 19: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Sunday urged the US to end its "witch-hunt" against the whistle-blowing website, BBC reported. In his first public statement since entering the Ecuador More