Manish Tewari does not endorse internet policing

NEW DELHI: Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister Manish Tewari feels that those who insist on privacy and the right to use new media on the internet should understand that while the government does not favour policing, the users themselves have to show a certain sense of responsibility while going on the social space.

Speaking on freedom of expression in the internet age at a function here last night, Tewari said that there is a need to draw a line between policing and freedom of speech and expression adding that the right to online privacy and anonymity should come with accountability. He also defended the government for policing of online content that it deemed "defamatory".

The minister also feels that there should be agreed global rules of engagements in this new media space to prevent misuse.

“We do not believe there should be a regulation or policing of the internet but common rules of engagement need to emerge in the new media space also because it is a virtual civilisation which has its own dynamics,” said Tewari

He referred to the recent riots in Muzaffarnagar where he claimed that a video posted on YouTube had flared up the entire incident. He also referred to the mass exodus from Bangalore of people hailing from the northeast from southern states last year after rumours of attack on them spread.

The rules of engagement are important because hardware responsible for dissemination of information over the Internet may not be under the control of a state at whom it is targeted. He said this as he noted that the cyber world has the potential to inflict destruction though it enables grassroots democratisation.

He sought the views of stakeholders on the role that a government can play when people fan violence through new media.

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