"The first step in blogging is not writing them but reading them." - Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine, 07-10-2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

Can we believe the net?

"Can we believe the net?" or "Should internet we censored?" or "Should government agencies step in to regulate the internet?"

In last few days I came across these topics in various forms of media. So thought of keying down my views (might be bit confusing :) ).

To me all of them are quite interrelated and the basic question to be asked is - how much should we believe the information we get on the internet. Today many of us fall back on the internet to get any kind of information. It’s the cheapest, fastest and most accessible source of information.
I will not say we do not get genuine information from the internet, but that is limited to a small set of sites for which we know owners. But there are billions of sites for which we have no idea about their owners or who is behind the content in them. But still many such sites might be useful for our information quest and who knows they can become a trusted source in the long run.
Anybody can put any kind of content on the internet without revealing his/her identity to the world. Controversial topics get painted in different lights on different sites depending upon their sponsor. This is what true freedom of expression is. Internet enables it and it is its pulse. If we start censoring this; we will be loosing the freedom. Today I feel internet is the only medium where you are still allowed to express your views without any restriction. And I would love it to stay that way.
Same piece of information might be correct for a section of society and offending for another section. Censoring the information to respect the emotions of a certain section we are denying something to other section. Today’s society has a huge gap between the extremes of conservatives and liberal. And it’s impractical to think we can satisfy everyone.
I view is that it’s responsibly of the viewer to decide what he likes to see and what he should not see. It’s his responsibility to censorship at his personal level and not expect some big daddy to do it for him, because after some time he himself will be dissatisfied with the big daddy. Exception is children, for whom the responsibility lies with their parents/guardians.
Today we have enough tools/resources available to censor the internet on personal level. But internet should remain as free as it is today; both in terms of posting content and accessing the same. What though can be enforced is that every website should declare its owner/author. This will enable the visitor to read the content in correct light.