Social Media Monitoring: Centre Says It's 'Listening' & 'Collating' Publicly Available Information

Social Media Monitoring: Centre Says Its Listening & Collating Publicly Available Information

“As regards the monitoring of social media contents, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is also listening to all the information that is being provided and written by the people and taking that information to the various Ministries.”

The Information and Broadcasting Minister stated in Lok Sabha on Thursday that the Ministry is also 'listening' to all the information that is being provided and written by the people in social media and taking that information to the various ministries.

This came as a response to the query by MP Asaduddin Owaisi who asked Minister Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore whether the new Media Wing of Information and Broadcasting Ministry monitors adverse reports on social media. He also asked why was it so important to monitor this sort of information in such a widespread capacity.

Col. Rathore said: "As regards the monitoring of social media contents, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is also listening to all the information that is being provided and written by the people and taking that information to the various Ministries. It is for that reason that publicly available information is then collated and sent to the various Ministries."

Another query by Owaisi was about the TV channels which have been banned or restricted for airing objectionable contents in the last four years.

The minister replied: "Every channel that gets a licence and permission to operate has to sign an agreement with us of things that cannot be broadcast which is under the Cable and Television Act. In case of violation of the Cable and Television Act, there are various methods of dealing with the channel. There is self-regulation as well as inter-Ministerial Committee... Out of the number of channels that have been restricted, many of them have been warned, many of them have been advised and a few of them have been penalised. It is all in our website."

Yesterday, the CJI-led Supreme Court bench had declined urgent hearing of Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma's PIL challenging the Central Government's order authorizing 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt information on computers of any citizen. He had questioned the government's powers to snoop on citizens. The challenge is essentially against the order issued by Ministry of Home Affairs authorizing 10 central agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt "any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer".