I urge you to write KAPIL SIBAL IS AN IDIOT as your Facebook status message, use the hashtag #IdiotKapilSibal on Twitter, and write a blog post with the above title, because there may soon be a day when he may prevent you from doing so.
The New York Times reports:
The Indian government has asked Internet companies and social media sites like Facebook to prescreen user content from India and to remove disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content before it goes online, three executives in the information technology industry say.
Top officials from the Indian units of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook are meeting with Kapil Sibal, India’s acting telecommunications minister, on Monday afternoon to discuss the issue, say two executives of Internet companies. The executives asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media on the issue.
About six weeks ago, Mr. Sibal called legal representatives from the top Internet service providers and Facebook into his New Delhi office, said one of the executives who was briefed on the meeting.
At the meeting, Mr. Sibal showed attendees a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party’s president, Sonia Gandhi. “This is unacceptable,” he told attendees, the executive said, and he asked them to find a way to monitor what is posted on their sites. [Link]
Medianama has a detailed analysis that tries to reason with the unreasonable Mr Sibal. Nikhil Pahwa notes:
The Indian government needs to have a more realistic approach to the Internet.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again – there is a dangerous trend that has emerged over the last year and a half, of the Indian government trying to monitor, identify and block digital (online and mobile) communications, and increasingly there is paranoia over their lack of control over the digital space. [Link]
No laws are needed. This country is Kapil Sibal’s personal property. He can just summon Facebook officials to his office and ask, “What is this?” No prizes for guessing why this has come in a year where his government’s popularity took a nose-dive. If you are as outraged as I am, please do this to register our collective protest:
- Write “Kapil Sibal is an idiot” as your Facebook status message.
- Use the hashtag #IdiotKapilSibal on Twitter.
- Write a blog post with the title “Kapil Sibal is an idiot”.
Down with censorship! Down with the arrogance of the Kangress Party!
More on internet censorship in India from Kafila archives: