Government all for Internet freedom: NSA
New Delhi: The government is all for Internet freedom but society has to decide where to draw the line on content, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said Wednesday as a furious debate rages in India on a senior minister's demand that popular search engines and social networking sites regulate online content.
"Internet freedom? The government is all for it. But content is a social issue. It is something that polity decides," Menon said during an interactive session after releasing a report on "India's Cyber Security Challenge" brought out by defence ministry-funded think-tank Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
"We have no interest in controlling the Internet. But, as a polity, it is but natural that we sit and decide where we draw the line," he added. He noted in this context that a meeting of all stakeholders is planned for June to discuss the issue threadbare.
Menon also saw humour in the situation.
"Getting the entire government on one page is a task in itself," he said.
Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal had last December asked Internet firms to screen derogatory and defamatory content on religious figures and political leaders, saying this hurt the religious sentiments of people and were even viewed as insulting and obscene.
"We will evolve guidelines. Give us a little time. We do not want to stop anyone, but we cannot allow this type of content," Sibal had said. This evoked a storm of protest on the very sites - like Twitter and Facebook - that Sibal was targeting.