Sounds of silence- Sec 66A-IT Act #FOE #FOS


Jug Suraiya
06 December 2012, 11:12 PM IST, TNN

Following several cases of people in various parts of the country being sent to jail because of comments they had either made, or even just approved of, on social networking sites, JV sought an interview with the newly-appointed minister of misinformation and non-communication. The interview turned out to be unique, in that the interviewer didn`t say a single word right through the entire proceedings leaving all the talking to the interviewee.

Why didn`t the interviewer utter a word during the course of the interview? Was it because of a sudden attack of laryngitis which made it impossible for him to speak? Not quite. Here is a transcript of the one-sided interview.

JV: (Silent greeting of `Good morning`)

Minister: The same to you. Isn`t silence soothing? No wonder they call it golden. And with the price of gold being what it is today — and going up by the hour — golden silence has never been so prized as it is now. And it is the job of my new ministry of misinformation and non-communication to preserve and protect that precious silence and keep it safe from those anti-social elements who are advocates of freedom of screech.

JV: (Silent question mark)

Minister: Yes, yes. I know that the obsolete term borrowed from that out-of-date publication called the Constitution is freedom of speech. But under the special powers derived from rule 37, sub-clause 29ZX of section 66A of the Misinformation and Non-communication Act of 2012, free speech has been deemed to be free screech.

JV: (Silent exclamation)

Minister: Yes, i agree with you. Such an imaginative reinterpretation of language is indeed quite ingenious. And it had become necessary in order to keep the general public — which means the likes of you — safe from the harmful effects of free screech.

JV: (Silent screech)

Minister: See what i mean? You wanted to exercise your right to screech. That was the trouble with our democracy. Everybody believed they had the right to screech, at anyone they liked, at any time they wanted to. No wonder our democracy was fast turning into a dinocracy, what with all that free screeching creating the most godawful din. No, it had to be stopped. In order to restore democracy to those to whom it rightfully belongs: the silent majority. And the more silent it is, the better. That`s what the ministry of misinformation and non-communication and section 66A are all about.

JV: (Silent surprise)

Minister: Why should that surprise you? Haven`t you heard of communicable ailments which are bad for the health of the individual? Well, communication is a communicable ailment which is bad for the health of the body politic.

JV: (Silent understanding)

Minister: See, you`re beginning to get the point now. With people no longer communicating with each other, those dangerous germs called ideas and opinions won`t spread the socially transmitted disease called dissent. Dreadful thing it is, contagious as hell. And there`s no cure for it, only prevention. Prevention in the form of section 66A. And the gag that was put over your mouth when you stepped into this office. No, no. Don`t try and take it off. If i have my way, you`d better get used to it being a permanent fixture.

JV: (Silent vow of enforced silence)

 

#India- FM radio stations under scanner #Censorship #FOE #FOS


FM radio stations under govt's scanner

The government is planning to set up a facility that will monitor the programme content that is broadcast on FM Radio stations during the 12th Five year plan. Information and Broadcasting secretary Uday Kumar Varma said there was a need to monitor radio content as nearly 800 more FM channels are likely to come up in the next couple of years.

Speaking at a function at the Electronic Media Monitoring Centre (EMMC) here, he said, “The whole world of monitoring of radio content is still to be handled and addressed in a meaningful manner. We do have a mechanism but I think we need to keep that mechanism evolving. With 800 plus FM channels expected to come in next one to three years, there will be quite a handful that will need to be addressed”.

He said private channels in the coming days would get permission to broadcast news which makes the need to monitor content important. “They will begin with AIR news but local news in any case, they may be allowed to generate and broadcast and that would have several manifestations which will need to be monitored,” Varma said.

Later speaking to PTI, Ranjana Dev Sarmah, Director EMMC said the content monitoring body was planning to expand its operations to include radio content and increase the number of television channels. “During the 12th five year plan period, we intend to set up the mechanism to monitor radio content as per the I&B ministry’s instructions,” Sarmah said.

“We also plan to increase the number of TV channels which are monitored from the current 300 to upto 1200 in the coming days,” he said. The EMMC is a department under the I&B ministry which monitors TV content round-the-clock and reports violations of rules and also carries out analysis. Earlier in his speech, the I&B secretary said EMMC was presently confined to satellite transmission but with the onset of digitisation of cable services, new technologies could be looked in to to see what content goes into the cable viewers’ homes.

Varma said that analysis of television content was another challenge that faced the EMMC. “It is good to know which channel is transmitting what kind of programme….which channel is the one which actually uses maximum time for advertisements on may be weekly basis or half yearly basis,” he said. “What kind of rural reporting the channels actually resort to in terms of their overall time devoted to matters which relate to the villages of India or developmental dimensions of the country…may be women, may be children or may be physically challenged and then there are sensitive analysis from the political point of view,” Varma added.

Secretary I&B said that the EMMC could set up its own Research and Analysis Wing which could be known as EMMC – RAW.

Agency/Source
Press Trust Of India

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