Reiterating that it did not want to censor the internet, the Union government today asked various stakeholders, including social media giants such as Facebook and Google and internet service providers to engage in a "constructive dialogue" and come up with a consensus on what reasonable restrictions should be imposed on the online world.
Addressing the first such 'open dialogue', Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar said, "There is need for a mature discussion on where do you really draw the line, who draws the line between legitimate restrictions and illegitimate censorship, and what are the ways in which we can have some broadly agreed rules."
The government, through the department of telecommunications and the department of electronics and information technology, had instituted this first such dialogue on Internet censorship. It was also attended by members of civil society, the technical community, media and legal experts.
While Facebook and Google agreed on taking an active role in spreading awareness and educating users about the Internet as a medium, they said they couldn't pro-actively remove contents. "If there are complaints, we will take reactive measures," said Raman Jit Singh Cheema, senior policy analyst at Google India.
In the past couple of weeks, policy makers have had to grapple with large-scale displacement, rumour mongering and hate speech on the Net, bringing to the forefront issues of hate speech and intolerance.
Government agencies had decided to block a large number of URLs, Twitter accounts, IMG tags, blog posts and websites, as also bulk SMSes.