Can’t go after rioters? Just censor the Net!

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30 Aug 2012

3’t go after rioters? Just censor the Net!&id=nc

  • I disagree with Kanchan Gupta, but I respect his right to free speech.
  • Kanchan Gupta can get abusive, personal, but his free speech (not hate speech) cannot be stifled.
  • The likes of “pro-Hindutva” journalists can dish up a lot of “warped logic” but that’s no case for blocking them.
  • Oh my God! Shiv Aroor was blocked?? Amit Paranjape was blocked? Gosh, that’s so unsettling!
  • It is ok to block/regulate/control abuse/bile/vile/venom when circumstances demand it.


I am not reproducing verbatim the above points, but they pretty much sum up the gist of the ‘liberal’ arguments made by some top notch ‘national’ journalists/newspapers/think tanks, etc. For a moment, you would also think that this block was because the handles were ‘abusing’ people.

For more than a month, Assam has been burning. There have been riots that displaced four lakh people. Nearly a hundred people are dead. People continue to suffer till date; violence continues unabated till date; shockingly people are still being killed. While the Congress Government in the State was busy doing nothing to stop this violence, rumours started flying thick and fast — in Pune first, Hyderabad next, Bangalore then, and finally Chennai.

Folks from the North-East who work in these places started getting SMSes that threatened them to leave the city for their own safety. Rumours spread fast, and people from NE started going back to their home states. Large-scale ‘exodus’ was happening and quite expectedly the ‘national media’ came into the picture only when it happened in Bangalore. So desperate was the media to blame this on ‘social media’ that they started including SMS in that too! Investigations also revealed that some Pakistani websites were playing mischief by posting false images and then social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress are being used to spread these false images.

Please note that none of these images were responsible for the violence in Assam. None of them were responsible for the ‘exodus’. These images sparked rumours that led to a mini-riot in Mumbai — a riot in which the Amar Jawan Memorial was attacked too. But facts rarely matter when there is an agenda at play! The agenda – start blaming social media. It is so full of hate, so full of losers and what not. They steered the debate towards hatred on social media.

And here’s where our Government came into the picture. It issued 4 orders,  in which it asked for specific sites to be blocked). 15 twitter profiles were sought to be blocked (and continue to be blocked) – with no proper reasoning and explanation. If you see the narrative on the ‘national’ media scene, you would think that only Kanchan Gupta, Shiv Aroor and Amit Paranjape were blocked. However, the block was not just about these three folks.

Quietly hidden away are these handles that were blocked too.

The handle “NorthEastBlog” and “Assam_News” just give you the happenings in the North East. The government does not want that to happen – you see anyone trying to debate that? Hash tags related to the riots in Assam, disturbances in the North-East have been blocked! This essentially means that the Government does not want any kind of related information to be discussed. Now, do you feel that ‘outrageous’ is a very small word to describe these actions by the government?

Twitter pages of individual users apart from the three journalists mentioned above were blocked – no reason given, no examples of “hate speech” that led to violence shown.

However, as our ‘national’ media is always obsessed with personalities – what does it do? Deviates the debate – towards abuse, vitriol, civility, etc. This was not even the reason why the handles and searches were blocked. None of the channels gave details about ALL handles that were blocked. None discussed the various search parameters that were blocked. None were outraged when the Government tried to link ‘National Security’ to handles without any evidence. They made this about people; they judged those who were blocked; and then (very sadly) tried to justify the blocking. No examples given, no questions asked.

Within a week, Indian TV media has been successful in deviating the Assam riots debate to abuse and trolls on the Internet. To paraphrase an earlier chain: Assam Riots –> SMS threat –> ‘Exodus’ of NE from South –> Social Media impact –> Internet Hindus –> Abuse and Trolls. A chain only the Indian TV media can generate.

Obsessive eater, Compulsive sleeper, Repulsive Writer

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3’t go after rioters? Just censor the Net!&id=nc

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  • Ashish

    I agree, that tv media is working in low risky zones, this means that where they feel, it would be easier for them come out clean if any criticism is faced from current power centre in India.

    Also they are misusing the Trust imparted by Indian viewers.

    The similar thing we saw during Arvind K’s fast.

    So, I am totally agreeing with you. Thanks.

  • Abhsihek

    Really a good article.

  • Prashanth K.P.

    Sudhirji, as is your style, another autopsy of the chutzpah the despotic CON led Government of India is unleashing on social media in particular and the nation in general. This blatant witch hunt adopted by the CON is nothing more than but 1) provide abundant time for their illegal vote bankers to displace natives and occupy Indian territory; 2) effectively change the demography of the State to ensure CON’s vote bank is retained 3) consequently ensure a CON Govt in the State forever, 4) facilitate the long term agenda of the Muslims to convert India into an Islamic state 5)establish Muslim dominant states to instigate separation or imposition of Article 370 thereby delinking the state from the rest of the country….and many more factors, the basic agenda of which was drawn way back in 1905 during the time of Partition of Bengal by Lord Curzon.

    (Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha, PVSM) in a letter to the then President of India on November 8, 1998 provides scary, bloodcurdling and horrendous insight into the fast changing demography of Assam. Not just this, but various other reports by several nationalist officers who served Assam at various other periods provide eerie insights into the elaborate infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims into Assam and the perilous negligence CON Governments deliberately accorded to this crisis. CON, in the pretext of *Growing more Food* was in fact **Growing more Muslims** in the region!

    While all these factors were being furiously debated on various TV channels, CON had to find a way out of the dilemma or at least distract attention of the nation from Assam. Hence, they left Assam burning, left the people to kill themselves, left thousands to flee and live in relief camps and meantime, conceived the brilliant idea of curbing basic Freedom of Speech. Being a bunch of jokers that they are, they little realized the strength of Social Media whom they tried to cinch. The retributive slap by the Social Media was humongous and resounding that the CON Govt had to step back, and step back they did.

    But, in the meantime, CON no doubt have managed to divert the attention of the nation from a burning Assam and also have succeeded in brutally scaring our NE brothers and sisters from running away from the various places they had comfortably settled over the years. That this exodus too was a Muslim initiated coercion is needless to say. And, sadly, our fellow citizens and respective state governments did not rise up to the occasion to protect them is equally terrible to comprehend.

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