good news

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Dec 2018 11:58:28

IT IS truly a good news that the Government is planning to amend rules pertaining to Information Technology (IT) to curb misuse of social media. The purpose is clear: To make it mandatory for the various social media platforms to deploy tools to identify and curb unlawful content as well as follow stricter due-diligence practices. The Union Ministry of Information Technology is in discussion with companies like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and others to work out modalities of implementation of amended rules. If all these efforts yield positive results, then we can expect social media to exercise a greater control over itself in due course of time. By any standard, this is going to be a good news. 

Free thought and its free expression are two of the most critical dimensions of a democratic society. Social media, as it evolved over time, was expected to serve that end capably and forcefully. It was considered a great opportunity for countless lakhs of people who craved to express themselves, but did not have an effective medium to achieve free expression. Social media -- through its multiple platforms -- offered that opportunity like nothing else did.

But even as this happened, the social media also became an instrument of spreading fake news and fake issues that did not adhere to norms of truth and integrity. the past few years saw social media giving out material whose veracity became an eternal issue before democratic and civil societies. Anything and everything is now dished out on social media without any care and concern and caution for truth and fairness. The kind of trash that is deliberately dished out on various platforms of social media has, therefore, become a matter of global concern since such a brazen spread of utter nonsense has twisted and distorted public discourse all over the world.

This necessitated certain logical and ethical restrictions on social media so that its menace is curbed. Hence the recent thought about rules and regulations to ensure that the social media does not dish out patently false material in the name of truth. The Government of India has been in discussions with various world companies to exercise an effective monitoring of social media. The only hope is that these measures under contemplation will yield good results in the long run.

Such a situation was expected to come. For, the manner in which people started abusing and misusing social media made it clear that an unrestricted reign could not be allowed to people whose commitment to truth, fairness and ethics was always suspect.In fact, what was supposed to be the core-strength of democracy -- free speech -- became its most dangerous dimension. In a way, this was nothing but a failure of modern society to make its members behave with a sense of responsibility and fairness. The kind of muck that is often dished out on social media has made all well-meaning people squirm and grimace beyond imagination. Hence the need to impose stricter norms so that the social media ceases to be a platform of filth.

But if stricter regulations are a necessity, greater self-discipline on the part of people in general is another imperative. Official IT regulations will certainly serve a great purpose. But a greater purpose will be served if the people on their own impose certain self-discipline and practise commitment to truth. This also means that the larger human society will have to reinvent its education so that people become true followers of ethical and moral thought and action. This may seem rather a tall order. Yet, it is the most important requirement of the larger human society across national boundaries and cultural divides. If this is achieved in a true sense, everything would turn golden.