Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Talk of Censoring Internet Content: A Solution

I am a bit nauseated by this whole thing of censoring the Internet. I have written about it here before and I am writing again. I don't know why India wants to join the repressive regimes in doing this. Obviously there is a lot of content on the net which is risque, provocative, unsubstantiated. But why take away the last bastion of human freedom (freedom of expression) as we know it. Asking web portals and service providers to delete objectionable content is like asking an ant to bathe an elephant (sorry, bad simile *grin*).

I have a better idea. Some portals and sites are already implementing it. Let the users decide which is unacceptable and inappropriate instead of the big arm of the government interfering with the small feeble fingers of online expressionists. Phew! When the big media houses are run like production houses of pig iron, it's natural that people will express their opinions through blogs and comments and fora. We have seen abundant examples of such pig-iron manufacturing enterprises in our morning broadsheets.

Blogs, facebook and twitter have created a welter of voices on the net through which information flows on a regular basis. I check Twitter to find out what has been happening. And, unerringly, unambiguously, rather, most occurrences are on Twitter before it is on the tube or the newspapers. And you get a diversity of views from people you know and trust unlike in the print and electronic media.

Aside: Ever since a program named "Sansani" came into the media consciousness, every newscaster has been shouting himself/herself in the throaty stentorian of the pony-tailed Sansani reporter. Ugh! He strutted around, he pointed a finger at the camera, sometimes he provoked. It was assumed that to achieve TRPs you had to be like the Sansani reporter.

But do we need such pyrotechnics to achieve Television Rating Points (TRPs)? I don't know.

Okay, coming back. Just a minute, have patience. As I said let the user decide on user-generated content. Most sites have a link "Click to report inappropriate content" on their pages. Make this mandatory for all portals and sites. Thus you are putting the onus on the user to decide on what is appropriate. Wikipaedia does this, many portals and service providers are already doing this.

The service provider can then remove the content if there are more than an agreed number of clicks. I think therein lies my solution. Anyone listening? Viral this please!

I am @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. I blog here.

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