Saturday, 14 January 2012

the controversy about controversial content...

the recent ruling by the delhi high court to initiate criminal action against about 20 websites, and call for banning some sites from india must have surely left most of us seething in indignance.

apart from the opinion that it deals a blow to freedom of speech and/or expression, the issue raises much more questions.

the first major issue here is that the goverment seeks to initiate criminal action against the websites - and the people heading those sites. while laws for libel or defamatory content have been around for ages, it is obvious that suing a website for third party content or opinion posted on it is not the same as suing the editor of a newspaper or the author of a book for its content. holding a website's ceo sitting in his office in california responsible for the millions of words that may be posted from all over the globe every day is just, well, illogical, if not ridiculous.

by extending the same logic of the government and judiciary, it would not be far fetched in saying that the chief justice or ministers or politicians are responsible for whatever is written on their compound walls, right ? so, if tomorrow, i decide to write profane,obscene, or anti-nationalist graffiti of the compound walls of the chief justice's house, he should go to his court and issue himself a summon. dont sue me, my lord, because obviously, you own the wall, you are responsible. and not to mention that all graffiti on the walls of every government office in the country, thus, can result in legal action against the respective government department, and by extension, the minister who is responsible for it.

and when it comes to 'objectionable' content, just what can be considered 'objectionable' ? and more importantly, to whom ? is all content that is objectionable to the honourable ministers and politicos liable to be removed from websites ? or can anybody make a complaint on what they consider objectionable and ask for it to be blocked ? where will this lead, and where will this end ?

personally, i think having to see someone emptying their bowels on the street during your morning walk is highly objectionable. when government after government, decade after decade, has been able to do nothing to change such situations in a country, i think it is a colossal waste of time to be issuing summons to tech companies, asking them to remove third party content.

and if any government is really concerned about 'objectionable' content, why is the state of movie censorship so  pathetic in the country ? why is there no strict age based rating for movies in india, which are rife with violence and obscenity. why is there practically no rating for television shows ? why isnt the government so concerned about what kids get to watch ?

india is a country where ironies abound. we have a government which doesn't think there is anything wrong about a tv show based on child marriage aired on prime time. the last time i heard, child marriage was illegal in india, right ? but it can, and will, enjoy viewership and TRPs and no ministry or minister will call for such shows to be banned.

well, if you dont watch it already, its high time now to get used to sitting in your living rooms and watching such wholesome entertainment with your kids ,while access to google, facebook, and such other stuff the rest of the normal world uses may soon be blocked.


  1. Very nice analogy, in words that our Judiciary can understand - of real walls of Justices!

  2. thanks....

    sometimes somethings and some people just make you want to go and bang yourself on a wall :) - not just write on them !

  3. Why dont we extend this logic a bit more. The people who voted and elected the government must also be held responsible for someone writing graffiti on a wall belonging to a government office. Arrest everyone.



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