TV channels are no longer making a martyr of a mediocre cartoonist.
Newspapers aren’t showing graphs of which countries have more ‘internet censorship’.
The lady from Chandigarh has disappeared after a brief twitter trend.We have moved onto the next ‘social media’, ‘digital media’, ‘internet’ tragedy: A movie created by a suspected crystal-meth maker that is sparking violence in some other part of the world, made insignificant because that part of the world is ‘not here’.But make no mistake, you are still under scrutiny.
And from now on, you always will be.
The Indian government has tried to block the internet before. Mr Sibal has given outlandish explanations and dreamed up increasingly impractical ways of policing us. None of it worked, there just wasnt enough ‘communal tension’ (or hate),a phrase that is India’s excuse for pushing through whatever draconian idea of governance it has. This time round though, it has worked. The state knows that centralized systems with hierarchical structures that depend on advertising (read newspapers, TV channels and radio stations) can easily be trusted. It they go out of line, the state can retract licenses or remove advertising; pull the leash to bring them in-line.
Online though this doesnt quite work (and traditional media doesnt like this either). The democratization of the means of media production helps a lot of us to say what’s on our mind. Unfortunately for the state, there just arent enough leashes to keep us in check: there isnt one method to shut us up. And this makes the state very unhappy. Using the recent violence against people from north east as an excuse the state has changed the game:
It’s saying that YOU can’t be trusted because YOU incite violence.
YOU dont understand how people react.
YOU are the problem.
But since YOU have become so adept at complaining and generally making our lives hell, we have a deal for YOU: Don’t watch the watchmen, don’t complain if the cops don’t help you, don’t say anything against the government, and may be, we’ll let you ‘lol’ and ‘like’ everything else.Unfortunately, as governments before have seen, the Internet doesn’t like being treated like a teenager with a ‘disciple’ problems. Instead of issuing orders that clamp, maybe the government could have had a conversation, treated online citizens like adults and may be finally used the Prime Minister’s Twitter handle for something worth while.
Yet it choses to act like Volkswagen does online: says something and then pretends otherwise. On this front at least, the public and private are equally alike in their lack of understanding of those online. It’s time that they learn the basics of social media. May be they need a consultant?
Ps: This post has no Karma Points due to my unhappiness with my government’s ignorance.