oppn parties Hate Posts on Social Media: Bengal Takes Welcome Action

News Snippets

  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
Death toll reaches 27 as Covid-19 cases across India reach 974 on Saturday
oppn parties
Hate Posts on Social Media: Bengal Takes Welcome Action

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-02-17 21:35:10

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The West Bengal government has asked the DGP and directed the cyber cells of the Kolkata and state police to crack down upon miscreants who are spreading rumours and are otherwise uploading hate posts on social media. This is a step in the right direction, if implemented properly.

One says this because often in the past, governments are known to take unkindly to criticisms of their own policies and actions and have brutally cracked down upon innocent bloggers who just express their honest opinions. The Bengal governmentÂ’s track record on this score is not unblemished for in the past it had arrested a professor for forwarding a cartoon lampooning the chief minister Mamata Banerjee. If it happens this time too, it would be an attack on the freedom of speech and hence unfortunate.

Having said this, it also needs to be reiterated that social media has become the hotbed of misinformation and hate posts, mischievous and slanted to achieve nefarious objectives. While most of the posts are forwarded by receivers without any malicious intent, the origin of these hate posts need to be traced as that is where the mischief is being generated. Hence, in any police investigation, care needs to be taken in not shooting the postman. The Bengal police have detected a pattern in these posts and traced them to a few people. This suggests that this is the handiwork of habitual pamphleteers and needs to be traved and eliminated.

In the past, police investigations have hit roadblocks as many IP addresses from where these hate posts originate are found to be in foreign countries. Still, since Facebook and Twitter are mostly used for such damaging posts, the police have streamlined regulatory information exchange mechanism with these companies. It is good that the police and the government have woken up to the fact that slanted and engineered posts on social media have the potential of starting conflicts between communities.

But in a state where the Imam of a mosque gets away with issuing a highly objectionable fatwa against the prime minister of the country, that too in the presence of a leader of the ruling party, such a crack down on social media posts will seem one-sided. The government should also crack down on all shades of people, regardless of their religious affiliation, for making inflammatory remarks on dignitaries. Political differences should not come in the way of booking a person for such objectionable remarks or fatwas.