NEW DELHI, Jan 16 (IANS): The Indian government's decision to prosecute social networking sites like Google and Facebook has triggered public anger, with netizens saying the move is tantamount to clamping down on constitutional rights of free speech and individual liberty.
"This censorship is totally useless, the government is trying to curb freedom of speech and expression, which is everyone's right," Kartik Dayanand, a social media consultant and blogger, told IANS.
The government Friday gave the green signal to proceed against 21 social networking sites for hosting "objectionable content" promoting enmity between groups and harming national interest.
But most people view this censorship as an excuse to curb freedom of expression.
Anirudh Salve, a content writer, said: "Social media provides ultimate freedom space for people who want to express themselves. By snatching this freedom, the government is trying to spoil the basic tenets of democracy, which is not acceptable."
"Inflammatory content on internet cannot be accepted. It hurts some people's sentiments, but this is no way to rectify that problem. Putting curbs on these websites will hamper our sense of liberty," said Jatin Panchi, an engineering student from Indraprastha University.
Freelance writer Pooja Kapur told IANS: "Censoring content on social media sites is totally unjustified. How different would we be from China or Afghanistan then?"
Others felt that there should be some control over the internet, but only to a certain extent.
Vedika Nandan, a model, said: "I think censoring of the internet is good, but to a certain extent."
"Censorship should be implemented to a certain limit. Social networks are portals to discuss and communicate. But these days people put anything on the internet, no matter what rubbish it is," said Tullika Batra, a journalism student at Delhi University.
"For me, if they are commenting against a system, it is okay. But if they get personal or abusive, then it's the boundary for me," Batra added.
Panchi added: "A better way out would to introduce a self-monitoring mechanism, some of which is already in place on these websites, but needs to be adhered to and implemented more effectively."
However, the majority opinion is that the government's decision is unacceptable.
"The decision is total antithesis of what India and its people represent and is totally unacceptable. The government should not think of monitoring anything that gets posted online. Facebook, Google, Twitter are just means to communicate; they can't be prosecuted for what people post or say over there," Dayanand added.