Forced to think of guidelines for social sites: Sibal
Communications minister Kapil Sibal today said he was compelled to think of guidelines for barring objectionable content on social networking sites after they declined to do anything about the issue.delhi Updated: Dec 09, 2011 19:23 IST
Communications minister Kapil Sibal Friday said he was compelled to think of guidelines for barring objectionable content on social networking sites after they declined to do anything about the issue.
"It was not my intent ever to interfere with the social media. I wanted them to evolve their own guidelines. But if somebody throws up their hands we will have to evolve some guidelines," Sibal said.
"I wanted a solution, a dialogue with them and deal with this issue in a sensible responsible manner," the minister told Karan Thapar's Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN.
The Internet world was in an uproar earlier this week after a news report said that Sibal had asked social networking sites like Facebook and Google, which operate the social video platform Youtube, to censor content which was offensive to religious sentiments and degrading some individuals.
The minister said he and his ministry officials had met representatives of the sites as many as six times since September but the companies had not come up with any solutions.
"Orally they agreed to do something, didn't agree with something. But they did not commit. On December 5, they threw up their hands saying 'we can't deal with any of this at our end and we will apply US community standards'," said Sibal.
Sibal clarified that he did not want platforms to screen content before it was uploaded, but wanted them to check for objectionable content.
As the controversy raged, Google has said there is a need to differentiate between what is controversial and what is illegal, adding that anything that went against statute was removed by their team, including content that went against their strict terms and conditions.
"But it also means that when content is legal but controversial, we don't remove it because people's differing views should be respected, so long as they are legal," a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
In his response to this, Sibal said: "We have no problem with that except that they themselves accept that this content cannot be legal. They were failing to live up to the laws that they are enforcing in their own country by their own community standards."
The minister said he would call for a roundtable on December 15 for evolving guidelines on the issue.