Orkut in the Line of Sena Fire RRS feed

  • Question

  • It's a week since Shiv Sena's student wing (Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena) demanded a ban on Google's wildly popular social networking Web site, Orkut, for having posted disparaging remarks against Sena chief Bal Thackeray and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

    An eventful week to say the least, with Sainiks going on a rampage; vandalizing a cyber cafe in Thane, beating up owners, even users, for not complying with their demand for a ban on Orkut.

    The Sena is now saying they want only the offensive communities on Orkut pulled down. The party is believed to be developing a software that will aid the partial ban, and keep such communities in check.

    The software will mostly be ready within the next couple of months, and will sport the ability to block any message containing words/phrases such as 'i hate' or 'i despise'.

    Commenting on the chain of events, President of Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena, Abhijit Phanse, said Orkut is used by several destructive elements looking to spread falsehoods about India, Hindus, Hindu gods, and the country's cultural heritage.

    He emphasised that the Sena does not want all of Orkut to be shut, but only those groups that indulge in hate campaigns.

    And, before we dismiss the Sena's plea as yet another instance of empty moral policing by a party that has precious little to do, it could well serve as reminder for the many social networking Web sites, particularly Orkut, that they too, need to observe a degree of moderation in terms of the content that they put up.

    Like a source in Orkut said, "Orkut is an embodiment of freedom many of us cherish, and has been a leading platform for public debate in communities worldwide on important social and developmental topics. We want to foster an environment in which users feel safe, as well as free to speak and interact."

    More so for a social networking Web site that prides itself on being a 'safe platform for the exchange of ideas' there is dire need to strike the right balance between freedom of expression and responsibility.

    All said, the Mumbai Police are now saying they have contacted the Computer Emergency Response Team, a Delhi-based regulatory body under the Ministry of Information and Technology, to ban Orkut. And in the meanwhile, they have requested for two offensive communities on Orkut to be pulled down...
    Friday, June 15, 2007 3:05 PM

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