RSS on Saturday (December 10) alleged Union Minister Kapil Sibal’s threat to “censor” content on the internet was an attempt to play the “communal card” and insisted that content posted on the web should not be filtered as unwanted material dies a natural death. “India has witnessed some of the worst communal riots when there was no internet. Nobody gets provoked by what is on the net. People are made by their religious leaders and political interests to react, to retaliate…To blame the net for ‘inciting’ communal passion is giving more credit than due to the medium,” RSS mouthpiece Organiser said in the editorial of its latest issue released on Saturday. The article maintained that the internet is full of sites against all the religions, one slanging against the other but this does not mean the government should take control.
“And what would the mechanism be?” it asked, wondering whether the government would set up another committee headed by Sibal to look into the issue. RSS alleged that Sibal’s announcement reveals the “paranoia of the ruling clique”. “Any content that is in bad taste and unacceptable faces a natural death. It does not need any outside control to do that,” the article said. Sibal, who heads the Communication & IT Ministry, had earlier said that some of the material posted on social media networks like Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and Google was objectionable. Some of these web postings related to politicians and to religious organisations. RSS hit out at the minister for trying to control criticism of politicians by the people and the media.
“In a healthy democracy, politicians are very much the target of jest and joke. World over such pictorial humour is on and allowed. Most of the time the leaders, if they are democratic enough, join the laughter. It is only in a dictatorship that the leader is only hailed and not riled. If they choose to be in public life, they have to be willing to be exposed too,” the editorial said. It further states that the government’s anger over the internet content is due to the fact that it unveils “murky stories” about Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her family. The mouthpiece argues that the “near anonymity” of the person posting the material on the web gives him or her the courage to expose without fear of physical harm.