Social media code: Congress cautious, BJP opposes Sibal's way

The Congress Wednesday reacted cautiously to government moves for a code of conduct for social media, calling for larger debate, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was supportive but said Communications Minister Kapil Sibal's way of approaching the issue is not right

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari hoped the government would hold threadbare consultations with all stakeholders before taking a decision.

"The issue is very sensitive and it needs larger debate. We hope that the government will take any step after this issue is discussed threadbare with all stakeholders," Tewari said answering a query over the controversy involving content on social media such as Facebook and Google.

BJP leader S.S. Ahluwalia supported the government's view on objectionable content on the social networking sites but said Sibal's way of approaching the issue is not right.

"We condemn if some distortion has taken place on such sites. No political party would approve distortion of images of public figures on the social network sites," Ahluwalia said.

But he said that "Sibal's way of regulating them is not okay".

Ahluwalia compared the government's move to ask the social networking sites to block objectionable content with the way it treated yoga guru Baba Ramdev when he protested the black money issue in Delhi earlier in the year and was asked to give a declaration on ending the agitation.

The BJP leader said the government should instead bring the regulation that it planned for these social network sites to parliament for discussion. "We will give our views then," he said.

Stating that the constitution granted complete freedom of speech, Ahluwalia said the social networking sites should not promote pervert pictures or hurt religious sentiments of people.

Sibal had said that global internet companies should block some content from their sites in view of senstivities and cultural ethos of people of the country.

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