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India Debates Whether Blogs Should Be Regulated

By January 16, 20084 Comments

A current topics discussion program aired on a national television network in India kicked off a lively debate about whether the government of India should regulate blogs. The program not only offers insights into the state of the blogosphere in India but also broaches a topic that has increasingly cropped up as an issue in a number of developing countries including China and Russia.

View NDTV: Should blogs be regulated?

Blogging has given people the chance to express their views and feelings on various issues that they feel strongly about, while at the same time providing a platform of anonymity for those who may desire it.

In the social mileu of India this has created quite a hue and cry as some of the blogs seem to be quite “provocative” or offensive to other people. These bloggers face the possibility of receiving comments on their blog that may use unacceptable language and be hurtful to the blogger.

There is a debate raging, at present, in the Indian sub-continent about whether blogs should be regulated. Whether this is possible at all is also an issue under discussion.

Regulation of blogs, according to most bloggers, would be an infringement of their basic right to freedom of expression. As with all forms of media the idea of such censorship does not go down well with the blog authors. They believe that blogging has provided them with a forum to express themselves freely, which they could not do earlier and this freedom should not be curtailed.

As far as the issue of hurting sentiments is concerned, bloggers believe that people who feel offended always have the option of not reading these blogs. Hence their right to freedom of expression should not be censored.

While it is rather unlikely that the government of India, or any other country for that matter, can do much to regulate all blogging activity, or stop the message contained in a blog from going out before it gets written, the fact that they are contemplating this is cause for worry in itself.

Vikram Joshi, a charming gay professional who authors one of the popular blogs featured in the NDTV program says, “The reason a lot of us write blogs is because the mainstream media does not cover issues we face enough. Blogs have turned out to be the only way that young gay men like me can be heard and reach out in this society. If the government clamps down even on this, they will be stifling our voices and curbing our freedoms once again, which isn’t very different than what happens in dictatorial regimes!”

4 Comments

  • Hemant says:

    Blogs should not be regulated. As Vikram says it is the only way we can write about and cover issues that we face and are not covered by other media.

  • Abhijit says:

    I agree with Hemant & Vikram Joshi that Blogs should not be regulated. With blogs we can share our views with others. In fact, blogs are not only used to share views but also can be used to learn something new and to understand the psychology of people, the way they think. It could also help to write blogs keeping this in mind. So ask yourself Should Blogs Be Regulated? I think you’ll find the answer is “no”.

  • Barry says:

    Blogs should be treated as any publication; ideally, freedom of speech should reign. But freedom does not mean unfettered licence. The trouble with blogs is that they are not well moderated; there is no editor, and the entry can be written and published quickly in a moment of distress, without reflection. Political debate can be advanced through weblogs, but it is important to push forward in a gracious manner, without recourse to insult or defamation.

  • Krish says:

    Thanks for sharing your nice informative article.