It was a busy day on December 15, 2011 for Government representatives as well as heads of social media organizations, TV news editors and print media honchos. A series of back to back meetings were held to discuss various issues of concern.
Amid the controversy over policing of the Internet, the Government on Thursday initiated a dialogue with leading social networking firms - Google, Facebook and Twitter - and sought suggestions on effective usage of these platforms. The Government side was represented by Telecom and IT Minister, Kapil Sibal, Minister of State for Communication and IT, Sachin Pilot, and Department of Telecom, Secretary K Chandrashekhar.
After meeting representatives of these firms, Telecom Minister, Kapil Sibal said that the Government had called for an open dialogue with the social media firms and asked for opinions on how social media and e-governance could empower individuals and citizens of this country.
It may be recalled that last week, Sibal had met with officials from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo after offensive material, particularly against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was hosted on these sites. He had asked the social networking websites to ensure that uploading of derogatory material was stopped.
Sibal maintained that the Government did not want to interfere with the press, but if the social networking sites were not willing to cooperate with the Government on stopping incendiary material, appropriate steps would be taken.
Thursday also saw a meeting between leading news television editors and Government representatives, comprising Kapil Sibal, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ambika Soni, Home Minister P Chidambaram, and Minister of State in the PMO, V Narayan Swamy.
Representing the television industry were Rajat Sharma, Satish K Singh, Anurradha Prasad, Rajdeep Sardesai, Arnab Goswami, Barkha Dutt and Prabal Pratap Singh.
Some of the issues discussed at the meeting included the Lokpal Bill, foreign direct investment in retail, and government policies impacting the media industry among others.
Along with the meeting with the television media, a meeting with print media leaders was also held in the capital. Very little details are available on the meeting. Representing the Government side were Kapil Sibal and Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad among others.