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‘Self-regulation need of the hour for social media’

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Rulers are intolerant of new media, says CPI(M) leader

Self-regulation in social media is the need of the hour as false news, half-truths and character assassinations are increasing at an alarming pace thus taking the sheen out of the positivity of the ‘new media’, according to CPI(M) senior leader Ch. Babu Rao.

Speaking at the roundtable organised by the Social Media for Society (SMS) on ‘Social Media and Democracy’, he said social media was part and parcel of modern-day human lives and it was making the rulers intolerant. “The rulers are not able to take the comments and views and they are initiating curbs leading to throttling of freedom of expression,” he said.

He cited examples involving the Central and the State governments, where social media activists were arrested and sent to jail owing to their comments.

‘Failure of fourth estate’

The Left leader said political parties have pressed into service several ‘gangs’ whose main job was to spread false news and launch vilification campaign against arch rivals and institutions. He exhorted the groups in social media to get pro-active by weeding out bad elements from the domain and safeguard of the interests of the new media.

Senior journalist Dara Gopi said the failure of the fourth estate was the reason for the popularity of social media as it brought fore facts into public domain. “In fact the main media on several occasions follows-up the issues sent across social media.” He said the ruling parties have virtually taken over the new media and anyone who questions the establishment was branded anti-national and anti-establishment. He said any political decisions will invite criticism and they are being heard loud and clear through social media which is not palatable for the rulers and hence the curbs and intolerance.

‘Forum for the voiceless’

YSRCP city secretary Vellampalli Srinivas said social media has emerged as forum for the voiceless to express their opinions and views. “As traditional media is not within their reach they are getting active in social media”.

A youngster said how in Latin America people were using social media for improving farming in the country. “Social media can be useful for many positive issues but abusers are emerging rapidly even putting our country’s safety to peril.” He predicted the use of social media to grow at faster pace as the usage of smartphones was increasing rapidly in the world.

CPI city secretary Donepudi Sankar, YSRCP senior leader Somi Naidu, Jana Sena senior leader Pothina Ventaka Naik, BC leader Gangadhar, Aam Aadmi Party senior leader Harmohinder Singh Sahni, trade union leader Sankar Rao, Tax Payers Association president Sambi Reddy and others took part in the roundtable.

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