New Delhi, Dec 7, 2011: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) young leader Anurag Singh Thakur wonders why the government wants to censor social media like Facebook when it is not ’censoring Sunny Leone’, an Indo-Canadian porn star who is a rage on the popular television show Bigg Boss.
"Why do they want to censor Facebook, when they don’t censor Sunny Leone," Thakur asked a day after Communications Minister Kapil Sibal advocated screening of inflammatory or offensive content on social networking sites.
"Thousands of children are searching for her on internet and getting connected to porn sites," said Thakur on the sidelines of a conference on effective legislatures organised by PRS Legislative Research.
Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor, who had ’rejected’ censorship for social media, however, said that after an expostulation from his colleague Kapil Sibal he felt some restriction was needed, as Indian politics and society was not as mature as in the West.
Are we immature?
"I talked to Kapil Sibal, he told me that there were inflammatory images of gods, goddesses, prophets. When I saw those, I felt there is a problem. Free speech in India is not the same as in the West," Tharoor said at the conference.
"If certain people see these images, it can cause violence, we don’t have a democracy so mature that we can ignore such things. So certain amount of restraint is necessary," he said.
"Inflammatory communal incitement is like a match at a petrol pump, why should we do that?" Tharoor argued, adding in good measure, however, that he was against censorship.
Contradicting him, Thakur said social media was a platform for common expression and should be allowed to grow and become mature.
"Social media should be given time to get mature," said Thakur, adding that it should be left to the social media to create ways of removing objectionable content. "There are options like watermarking," he suggested.
Sibal, however, said the government will not allow social networking sites to host ’objectionable’ content and will take steps to screen and remove these.