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Net should be used for empowerment, not disruption: Sibal

Last updated on: March 21, 2013 14:23 IST

Kapil SibalTelecom Minister Kapil Sibal said on Thursday Internet which has emerged as a powerful medium should be used for empowerment and not disruption.

"This is the ultimate analysis, the medium is for empowerment, it is not for disruption. Any technology can be used in any way, like an atom can create electricity or have Hiroshima. It’s the atom that provides the solution.

"The Internet is that kind of energy of millions of atoms.

"Those atoms should be used for the good of mankind," he said while speaking at Google's Big Tent Activate Summit in New Delhi.

On his views on self-regulation, Sibal said it was difficult to govern anybody on the net and that the rules will have to be self-imposed.

"It’s a platform where we need to talk to each other on a daily basis.

"And also adhere to certain rules of the game. You cannot play cricket without rules, you cannot play baseball without rules.

"Now those rules have to be self-imposed . . . Internet governance to me is an oxymoron.

How can you govern anybody on the net, you cannot. The net must govern itself," Sibal added.

Asked on his reference to self regulation, Sibal later told reporters on the sidelines "Anybody, it could be television people. Anybody, everybody who disseminates news.” The summit is being held to discusses issues related to the Internet and its impact on economy, politics, culture and society in India.

During his address, the minister also said the Internet has no boundaries and it has the resources to connect the society.

Emphasising on the need for self-regulation on sharing information on the Internet, Sibal said that media needs to realise its role in sharing news, which should ‘empower’ people and not cause ‘disruption’.

"Tera to haq hai khabar chalana, kuch mere bhi haq hain mat bhool jana (your job is to run news, but do not forget about my rights)," he added.

Sibal said internet is perhaps the most powerful medium to bring equality. . .

To empower people through the Internet, Sibal explained there are three most important steps -- state policy, connectivity through networks and affordability in terms of access through devices -- which will make this medium completely inclusive.

"On that will flow the ingenuity of the private sector, which will create software programmes to meet the needs perhaps of the communities and every consumer so that he can get the maximum benefit on the net.

On government policies, Sibal said the State should enable a framework wherein ‘Internet should not be ubiquitous.

"It should not diminish the ability of one to talk to the other. But having said that, information should come through networks that are affordable and accessible to the people."

The Minister said that Internet’s impact and influence are profound.

"When it comes to politics, we see the kind of impact it (Internet) has on politics.

"We hear voices on the net, millions of voices on the net.

On government's part, he said ". . . I think that we also in government realise that we need to reach out to the net as well. “That’s the transformational change that will help in politics".

Image: Kapil Sibal

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