Contextualising #MakeBlog: Voice and Censorship

BY RAGHAVENDRA – SILENCE BEFORE THE STORM

In his first post for Make Blog Not War, Raghavendra contextualises the event, arguing that the Internet has helped more people to find their voice, and that government censorship is a reaction against that. Read the original post on Raghavendra’s blog, Silence Before the Storm.

“Public voice in unison against the atrocities and disregard perpetrated by various factions, both in political and apolitical identities has been on the downside. While protests, the only effective means of expression of the disgruntle of the masses against the bureaucracy is being rendered less effective by the day, with the acidic use of corporate media, people’s disgruntle is now analogous to speaking in vacuum!

The Internet space presents itself as an option to express oneself and reach out to more people, in attempts to formulate and/or condition public opinion.

The effective use of Internet and the tagging tools like blogging, micro-blogging, video mash ups, online petitions and other propaganda content can in a way be used to fill the void that is being created by the media that is inaccessible to cater to the common people.

On these lines, blogs on the Internet have played an important role, and will continue to help increase awareness and become the feeble voice of the loud dissatisfaction plaguing the society.

There have been successful campaigns which have percolated through the Internet starting from the blogosphere. This realisation has now woken up the bureaucracy to curb and curtail the freedom of expression to the next level, that is in the Internet space.

The ‘intermediaries’ as the online entities are categorised, could now be victims of severe cuts on freedom of expression, in a manner that has prevailed in the literary or cinema arena in India, both pre and post independence.

Internet Democracy

The notion of democracy in the Internet, where individual voices, for instance in the form of blogs can be used to create awareness about the plethora of issues perilously impacting the society is now being professed by activists who have now expanded their realms of impact. And because even these means have been able to have substantial impact, there is an increasing fundamentalism of sorts with which the authorities are imposing heavy restrictions on the nature of content and latitude of expression on the Internet.

An understanding of the legal infrastructure and an insight into the scope of impact bloggers can and must have in securing the freedom of expression on the Internet were discussed and debated in a workshop organised by The Internet Democracy Project.

I shall follow up with subsequent posts where I will delve into the nuances of the various problems and prospects of the Make Blog, Not War debate”.

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