Much has been made of Social Media and how it is bringing about a revolution in connecting people. Last year, the Indian Government (Kapil Sibal specifically) was considering that Social Media be censored due to people uploading politically sensitive and satirical content.
Well, that didn’t go well and Sibal quickly clarified that ‘censoring’ social media was not what he meant. The outrage on all these social networks did not let the Indian Government to even go ahead with their plans!
Press Council of India Chairperson, Justice Markandey Katju feels that there is still a lot of ‘unpleasant’ material in the public domain of Social Media and feels that something should be done about it.
“Social media like Facebook and Google need to be regulated as a lot of dirty and filthy material is available on these sites and these affect the minds of the younger generation,” Katju spoke during an interaction with women journalists at the Indian Women Press Corps.
“Everybody should have self-regulation. I was scared when I was the High Court judge that if I took a bribe I would be impeached by Parliament. Lawyers’ license can be cancelled by the Bar Council of India and similarly doctors’ licence can be cancelled by the Medical Council of India for any medical negligence. So everybody is accountable except the media, especially the electronic media. They say we will have self-regulation. Then everybody should have self-regulation, why should there be laws? The very fact that you have laws is that society realises that self-regulation is not all that sufficient. There should be some fear among media.”
“I am not against the media and fight for their rights as nobody else would have. I am not calling for controlling media but regulating them. May be a separate committee should be constituted and the media fraternity should be a part of framing its guidelines,” he said.
Basically, Katju is calling for an Independent regulatory body which decides what material should or should not be available on Social Media. This makes sense for media organizations but Social Media is not your typical media. It is the thoughts and images uploaded by millions of people in general. We don’t think that comparison of Social Media with traditional media make sense. This is the age of User generated content and ‘regulation’ will only lead to censorship.
The beauty of the Internet is the fact that you choose what you want to watch. It is not like anyone forces us to watch anything online. Then why do we need regulation? What we need is better ‘Parental Controls’ so that children don’t stumble upon things that they shouldn’t.
What are your thoughts on the state of Social and Electronic Media? Do they need regulation? Share your views with us in the comments.