Friday, March 21, 2014

Most freedom, least accountability..

Most freedom, least accountability.

Social networking has been the new avatar of the cyber space. Amidst all other popular inventions in the domain of internet services, it has gained the edge speedily mainly due to its open source nature, free of cost structure and the freedom of choice it offers to its users etc.

25 years before, when Tim burners-Lee delineated the concept structure for the governance of their invention called the World Wide Web, they would not have imagined the radical changes this new communication platform would bring in the days to come. Alas! Many things have changed since then. the world has been becoming so small everyday and the speed at which the globalization taking place, one wonders , would not have been possible this fast without the help and support of internet  and the fast paced network of communications offered by various tools connected to it and various services it offers to it s users.

The social networking sites offer their users ample freedom to express their views, put in place their intentions, write their heart out without any inhibitions on any matter, about anybody, at any time to any degree at any length. There is literally no restriction except some laws like IT act, 2005 and some sections of IPC. So, the regulation if at all exists is self –regulation alone.

Freedom is the life blood of any democracy. It is the pedestal on which the democratic values express themselves and find expression in a modern sane society. Democracy without freedom is like a house without foundation. But, for me, it a term most ill understood than well understood. According to me , the word freedom must be looked at in greater detail. Everyone of us , by birth entitled to some basic rights , the inalienable rights – the right to live , right to grow in a healthy environment ,right to be subjected to the fair treatment in a society , right to equality and equal opportunities etc. but right to freedom should never be an absolute one , it has always have some reasonable restrictions to make the living and functioning of individuals and groups in a society sane and to create some workable solutions not only for the betterment of the individuals but for the growth and stability of the society in which he/she is a part of.

I think, if there is anything absolute, that is freedom of thought. one can think logically , emotionally , aesthetically , sanely ,or insanely and in numerous other ways as long as it does not cross the boundaries of one’s mind . Everybody has the liberty to choose from among the various alternatives at hand and to choose the one suits him the better or worse. One can think whatever one is capable of, dream according to his ability .But the real problem arises when the “freedom of thought “ is being confused with “the freedom of expression”. I feel, following an average value system set in motion in a society is no where detrimental to individual freedom. Of late , I see , children not respecting the elders ,youth not obliging their teachers ,sons/daughters not listening to their parents, husbands/wives resorting to the divorces for the problems which would have been otherwise dealt in more subtle ways had they been allowed their near and dear to counsel them. “I know all” attitude and increasing levels of intolerance are being mistaken for craving need to get more and more freedom.

The same attitude is being reflected in our day to day living and the way we deal with others. In a country like India, where 1 billion people have 1 billion views on every damn issue , the problem is compounding. Handling of law and order situations in the olden times were easier than now as the information used to take some time to spread and some maneuverable space was available for the authorities to checkmate the false propaganda. The recent incidents of spreading hate messages against the north eastern students due to some untoward incidents in Karnataka has lead to the exodus of thousands of north eastern people across the south India. Incidents like these, has once again put the question of ubiquitous freedom of social networking offers to its users in the limelight.

The increasing levels of hate messages without a purpose and just to spew venom ,in a way intended to degrade somebody or to hurt his/her feelings is a reflection of our attitude of growing carelessness.

We must ask ourselves-Is it freedom or our inability to control our emotions and falling pray for the gimmicks of damn adrenalin which was basically meant to instigate the fight or flight responses. Many times the answer is in negative. I feel sad when I see outrageous, irresponsible, indecent messages and comments for some celebrity pictures in FB. Face book and twitter are the new powerful tools in our hands with power to change and challenge the status-quo. Many revolutions in the Arab world have become what they are having been impacted by the no cost, no govt control, easily accessible, seamless connection oriented social networking sites like twitter and FB.

But absolute freedom in the hands of absolute morons will do more damage than good. I do not recommend censorship or tight govt control of the otherwise free social networking sites which could be disastrous for the people to show their anger, angst against the stinky systems and can be detrimental for the new initiatives and inventions which may work for the betterment of the society and the world.

All I plea is that, we have to be much more cautious, responsible and accountable not only to ourselves but the society as a whole and should take an oath not to indulge in false propaganda, celebrity mongering, spreading hate messages, anti national propaganda, expressing feelings in an indecent language .we should cultivate the values of accountability and responsibility for the betterment of the virtual cyberspace and to strive to become the better netizens.

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