Bhubaneswar based STV Samachar had a panel discussion last evening on the hot issue of official control over social media. Its Reporter-cum-Producer Durga Prasad Sarangi conducted the event when ex-Director General of Police S.N.Tiwari and ORISSA MATTERS chief Subhas Chandra Pattanayak discussed the topic with input on legal intricacies from eminent lawyer Bibhu Prasad Tripathy.
Orissa Government’s steps to enforce the cyber laws with stress on registration of cyber cafes and imposition of conditionality on net surfing as well as the Central Government’s restriction on SMS to at best 5 messages per day for 15 days against a backdrop of contemplation of leash on social media were the issues before the panelists.
Even as Mr. Tripathy justified the restrictive steps advanced by the State as essential for saving the society from anarchy that loose expression in the speediest viewable media may cause, Mr. Tiwari stressed on the necessity of implementable amendments to existing cyber laws with reasonable restrictions on cyber surfing and social networking; because such steps are indispensable in interest of national security. But, the Police must be well equipped with cyber-expertise and with enough manpower to tackle the offenses a few but highly proficient techno-brains sometimes perpetrate, he said.
Mr. Pattanayak pointed out that social media, being the peoples’ media beyond country boundaries, is the most effective remedy against all the maladies mega media churns out under corporate-compradors imperialistic design; and so, any curb on social media should be read as a design against promotion of global partnership of man with mankind and also as the ruling syndicates’ attempts to hinder people-centric information that emancipation from monopolies so essentially needs. Pointing out at the contradiction between proposed plan of supplying mobile phones at the cost of the exchequer to people in the grassroots for their empowerment and imposition of restriction on SMS under any pretext in India, Pattanayak maintained that linking the SMS facility to spread of rumors that allegedly gave birth to the present exodus of NE inhabitants from their outside state avenues of livelihood is not a responsible decision inasmuch as it could possibly not have occurred had the people’s faith in the government of the day not declined, he said that political introspection and correction, not imposition of restriction of mobile or social media is necessary.
Sarangi’s backgrounders as well as Tripathy’s legal inputs made the live discussion lively and well perceivable.