Social media is a "revolutionary" medium of communication that has reached the hands of the common man, and the need of the hour is to adopt it and devise ways to deal with those who misuse it rather than taking an aggressive stand, Union Minister Manish Tewari said today.
At a panel discussion 'Agenda - Aaj Tak' organised by the news channel here, Tewari said there was a need to find a remedy for those who were affected by the negative use of social media.
"It (social media) can be used for constructive purposes or for harmful activities like you saw recently in Bengaluru and Chennai," the I&B Minister said, referring to the use of social media to spread rumours which led to insecurity among people from Northeast.
"This is a very revolutionary medium of communication which has reached the hands of the common man and we should not fight or quarrel with it but adopt it and think about how to deal with those who use it for wrong activities," he said.
Author Chetan Bhagat contended that it was not necessary that there should be a legal remedy for every problem. He said it was not technically possible to regulate social media.
"In our country everyone who has power abuses it. Now this small power has reached the hands of the youth, do you want to take it away (by regulation). It is a matter of concern even if it is being considered," he said.
Responding to Bhagat, Tewari said there was a difference between regulation and remedy.
"Regulation means you are trying to control something and here I agree that the manner in which science has grown and techniques developed, you don't have the instruments to regulate even if you want to control social media. The government has also never wanted to control it," Tewari said.
Tewari said the question was whether to leave social media completely free or whether to construct a mechanism where remedies were present in the system.
Tewari said many people had mentioned Section 66 A of the IT Act, under which two girls were arrested in Maharashtra for posting a comment on Facebook, but a discussion was needed before a change was carried out in the legislation.
He said there was a need to distinguish between the law and those who implemented it.
Tewari said that because of this medium, the country had not 800 broadcasters but 8 crore broadcasters as anyone who is on Facebook or Twitter can make his/her voice heard.
Activist Kiran Bedi, who was also one of the panelists, said there is a need to formulate a policy for dealing with issues related to social media.
Narrating an incident, Bedi said she had asked a senior police officer in Mumbai to know if the Police there had organised any training for its staff to familiarise them with the Information Technology Act.
The officer responded by saying that training could happen only if there were any trainers available, Bedi said.
Bedi also said there was a need for reasonable restrictions on the freedom enjoyed on social media as it could be used to defame people.
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