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Social media a reality: Khurshid

West Bengal,Media, Sat, 21 Apr 2012 IANS

Kolkata, April 21 (IANS) As the West Bengal police booked a university professor for forwarding a cartoon mail on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the state CID asked Facebook to delete some morphed images of her, Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid Saturday said social media had become a reality and there were very restricted opportunities to impose constraints on that.


"The issue is not the embarrassment, but the fact that social media has become a reality and there is very restricted opportunity to impose constraints it," Khurshid said here.


"Americans could not impose restrictions on Wikileaks, so we also have to take social media in our stride," Khurshid said.


The union minister's comment assumes significance as a couple of days back, the Bengal CID wrote to Facebook, asking it to delete certain morphed images of Banerjee after a Trinamool Congress supporter lodged a complaint that specific posts and 'objectionable comments' were flooding social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.


Earlier, Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra was arrested for allegedly circulating 'defamatory' cartoons on Facebook targeting the chief minister.


The arrest had evoked widespread condemnation from all quarters. Intellectuals and commoners continue to pour their anguish over the issue which they see as a blatant attack on democracy and freedom of speech and expression.


"I don't think we should start thinking we are in a vulnerable or helpless situation. There is a law of the land, we have in the past come up with matters that we had to address. Sometimes we met with success and sometimes we did not," the minister said.


Khurshid said there was already effective legislation in place which gave the government ample power to restrict social media where it violated the law of the land.


He, however, said there was no conflict between the government and social media and the latter was doing 'good stuff'. "There is no conflict between us and the social media. I think the social media - which gives the opportunity to voice ones' opinion to a larger audience - is doing good stuff as well. Many people may agree with it and many ordinary people may not. We have to take it in our stride and evolve our reactions to it keeping in mind that social media is a reality and a part of life," he added.


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