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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Internet must be governed: BJP

The party spokesperson says Internet must be governed but in a way that does not compromise on the spirit of freedom of speech and expression

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said Internet must be governed as it is “extremely important" for governance but it should done in a way that does not compromise on the spirit of freedom of speech and expression.

“Internet is extremely important and since it is extremely important for governance also, because every person is within the ambit of government, Internet has to be governed in a way that does not take away basic essence of Internet which is freedom of speech and expression," BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said on Thursday.

He was speaking at an Internet governance event organised by industry chamber Assocham. “Even those who are trying to curb this freedom of expression also enjoys freedom of expression. Internet is creation of mind and hence mind cannot be put within boundaries and mind does not has boundaries of countries in it. So Internet must be governed in non-discretionary manner for benefit of mankind at large," he said.

Talking about “Net neutrality", he said the government has formed a committee on Net neutrality and regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is also working on it. “Once the Trai submits its recommendation to the Telecom Commission and then after the commission approaches the government, the government will take decision in favour of people," Patra said.

Patra said because of vagueness in words, Section 66 A of the IT Act had been misused in the past. Congress leader and former Union minister Manish Tewari, who participated in the discussion, said Internet should not be governed and it should be left to develop the way it is.

“Difficulty is where do you draw the line? Someone may be liberal and he may draw line on left and someone may conservative he may draw line on extreme left," Tewari said. Aam Aadmi Party leader Somnath Bharti said law should be used to serve larger public interest and not to protect politicians. He said many people in the country including police and politicians do not know about Internet.

“Gradually social media will replace media because media is controlled by few individuals with certain interest... Social media cannot be controlled. Controlling Internet by violating Net neutrality should be opposed and I am with people who are opposing it," Bharti said.

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