RS Chairman asks Govt to address social media misuse

Rajat Kain

Rajya-Sabha-M-Venkaiah-Naidu

Taking a strong note of the misuse of social media and violence due to rumours floated on the platform, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked the government to hold discussions with all the stakeholders and even with the political parties to arrive at the way to deal with the menace.

“This issue of misuse of social media is a larger issue and also a sensitive and serious issue. We can’t come to conclusion on one side and we can’t take unilateral action also… The moment government does something then there will be criticism and also opposition and then at the same time can you allow this situation to go on what is happening,” he said.

His remarks came on Thursday Zero Hour mentions in the Upper House, where several MPs, most of them Opposition, flagged the issue.

“I can only suggest to the government to hold discussion with all the stakeholders, including the political parties and then try to evolve a policy, because it will have international ramifications also…,” the Chairman said

Mr. Naidu also told the house that it can hold larger separate discussion on the issue “depending on the time available”.

“Otherwise I suggest to the minister… Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, I have seen in between also he was also concerned and he also said it is a very sensitive issue. Let him hold discussion with all stakeholders, including the political leadership and then come with some solution and share with the house subsequently…,” he said.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu in Rajya Sabha. PTI/RSTV

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu in Rajya Sabha.
PTI/RSTV

Responding to the Chariman’s remarks, Union Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government has already issued a notice to a social media major over the matter.

“I don’t want to name a group… I have issued a notice to him that if you are equally responsible for the technological platform if it is used for large number of abuse… They have reverted back to me. I take your suggestion and will hold discussion with you (political parties),” Prasad said on the floor of the house.

Earlier, several opposition members flagged the issue of social media abuse and instances mob lynching fuelled by the rumours on social media.

“The house should condemn this atrocious attack on Swami Agnivesh who was beaten and showed a black flag by the activists of Bhartiya Yuva Morcha and Bajrang Dal in Jharkhand… He was saved by the public,” CPI(M) MP TK Rangarajan said.

The senior Left front MP also cited Supreme Court order on the issue of mob lynching. AAP MP Sanjay Singh also associated with Rangarajan.

“The ills of social media are overpowering its benefits,” said JD(U) MP Harivansh claming 33 people have been killed in violence stoked after the rumours on social media. “We need law and technique to counter this problem…,” he added.

Congress MP Anand Sharma said house need to have separate discussion on the issue. TMC MP Sukhendu Shekhar Roy also flagged issue citing the Supreme court’s recent order and urged the government to come up with the “comprehensive legislation on this in both the house of Parliament”.

CPI MP D Raja and RJD’s Manoj Sinha also associated with the members.