Is the state BJP being Dictatorial ?
People talk about many things and in the process blaming something or someone comes naturally. When people talk about issues happening here, one can always blame the government.
Several political parties have taken the helm of affairs and they have had their share of corruption and equally, they have been lambasted by the public through various mediums. Academics have written on it, cartoonist have drawn satirical pictures, civil organizations have protested in so many issues as we have seen in the past and still continue to do so.
It is inherent right of an individual living in a democratic system to voice his angst and as enshrined in the Constitution of India. However, that manner of free speech and expression is also controlled by several clauses within the Article (19) which states that one cannot infringe on the personal matters of another individual without proper validation, writings which can spark communal tension, those which can be taken as secessionist material to state a few.
Those in the media are aware of the ethics prescribed by regulatory bodies like the Press Council of India. However, most media houses are self-regulatory regarding ethics but not all newspapers and channels adhere to the canons of Journalism. These actions may be termed as being ‘yellow’ or bordering on sensationalism rather than focusing on the actual happenings and needlessly blowing things out of proportion just to get more sales or ratings.
Now with the advent of new media which is inclusive of any communication platform where one can communicate to the masses with just the tip of a finger; dissemination of news has become quite easy. A person with a smart phone and internet connectivity can get all the information and current news that he wants in a matter of seconds. With new media and the communication portals like Twitter,Whatsapp and Facebook, going viral means that the particular subject is read or watched by quite a large number of the public. With this development arises a problem of fake news and statuses which incite communal tension among many others.
Now, the crimes committed on the social media have to be looked into and cyber laws are implemented in the state and even a separate department has been instituted. The cyber offenders are punished as per sections of the Information Technology act. So, if one shares a very communal charged Facebook post, he is most likely to be arrested. This is the duty of the cyber-crime police officer.
Recently, a scribe of a local news channel was arrested by state police and not the cyber crime department for a particular facebook post in which he had mentioned some slander and perhaps hinted at the present BJP led government. The Imphal Police station officer in charge took out extra effort to arrest the particular scribe. The policeman was surfing Facebook and he had seen an offensive post and thus arrested him as per the FIR report. Best part is also that the scribe was not charged under the IT act but for some other sections of the law including defamation. One can appreciate the police action and give kudos, as not even a facebook post goes unnoticed without being reprimanded. One question is are there not other crimes which merit investigation, some insurgent related crimes, accident cases, murder, rape, forgery, theft and the list goes on. They had to focus on a statement made on facebook which did not mention the BJP, and even if the scribe had mentioned so, how much harm is done? Don’t we have the right to voice our thoughts and call a spade a spade. And if the public cannot give some criticism to the BJP government, what does that say? A dictatorial government or perhaps a military junta can arrest and kill people for speaking out against the regime. But, is the BJP becoming some sort of a regime that they are running after facebook posts which are sent up by netizens mocking the government. If the answer is yes, then writing this editorial may land one up in jail.
Leader Writer: Paojel Chaoba
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