Mixed response on Govt move on network sites

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New Delhi: Government`s move to ask social networking sites to prevent objectionable content from appearing on their web sites today evoked a mixed response from politicians who make prolific use of the Internet medium.

Congress MP from Kerala Shashi Tharoor, a regular on Twitter micro-blogging site, said he was against political censorship but there were some issues of concern like "communally inflammatory" material, while BJP MP Varun Gandhi decried any effort to "gag" Internet.

"Spoke to Kapil Sibal. He assured me he opposes political censorship. Concern is communally inflammatory images & language which he described. Have to say I support Kapil Sibal on the examples he gave me: deeply offensive material about religions & communities that could incite riots," Tharoor said on Twitter.

"I reject censorship. Art, literature & political opinion are sacrosanct. But inflammatory communal incitement is like a match at a petrol pump," he said.

However, Varun Gandhi, BJP MP from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, disagreed with Tharoor and said Internet is the only truly democratic medium free of "vested interests, media owners & paid-off journos." "Can see why Sibal wants to gag it," he said.

RLD MP Jayant Chaudhary, son of party chief Ajit Singh, also appeared to question the Telecom Ministry`s move to ask Facebook and Google to evolve mechanism to ensure objectionable content on social networking sites are removed. "Censorship of the internet – Forget the desirability issue for a minute, IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE??!!! Maybe Facebook, Google, etc will be asked to monitor/ remove offensive content, but what about the small blogs and vast numbers of websites that are too small to be checked?" he asked.

Tharoor said that on specific issues raised by Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal he would speak to him directly.

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