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Biased Media is a real threat to Indian Democracy..

Media are the communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. The term refers to components of the mass media communications industry, such as print media, publishing, the news media, photography, cinema, broad casting (radio and television) and advertising.

Biased journalist or biased news channel shows that all policies and steps of government or apolitical party is always right, they do not criticize government for their wrong work and this will harm the democracy or country because criticism is the backbone of democracy, criticism keeps the government on right track, and media is the fourth pillar of democracy, media keeps democracy alive.

Security implications from Social Media:

As technology is a double edged sword. The large numbers, speed, anonymity and secrecy attached to these conversations have far reaching security implications. Subversive actors have proved in recent years that they are particularly adept at utilizing the Internet and social media to facilitate their activities.

The security implications include:

  • Radicalization: Terrorist groups like Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda and countries like Pakistan have been extremely effective in using social media to radicalize people and position them to commit violent acts.
  • Terrorism: Many terror modules were busted by police in India, all of whose members were groomed, trained, funded and armed by their handlers on social networking sites. World over, there are cases of terrorist operations, especially lone wolf attacks, being coordinated through social media.
  • Incitement of riots through hateful posts and communal videos. E.g. Hate videos were circulated before the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. Pakistan's ISI is known to incite violence by circulating fake videos on social media to incite riots.
  • Cyber-crime: These include cyber bullying or stalking, financial frauds, identity theft etc.
  • Divulgence of sensitive information: Forces posted in sensitive locations are prone to giving away their locations and assets on social media.
  • Influencing democratic processes: The latest emerging threat to national interests is the use of these sites to influence and subvert democratic processes by actors both from within and from enemy countries. Examples recently were seen in US Presidential elections and Brexit referendum.
  • Cyber espionage: Sensitive information from the mobile phones used by security personnel can be stolen using malware and social media.

Following Measures should be taken to deal with these threats:

  • Legal Provisions: IT Act 2000 under Sections 69 and 69A provides government with the power to intercept and block any information, as well as punish perpetrators, in the interest of security and public order etc. The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and IPC also have provisions against spreading hatred between groups, inciting violence and the intent or act of terrorist activities.
  • Security agencies: Government agencies including National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) and Intelligence agencies actively track terrorist activity on the social media. State police also have their own social media cells, like the highly effective Mumbai's Social Media Lab.
  • Centralized Monitoring System (CMS): To automate the process of lawful interception and monitoring of the internet in the country. It has come into operation in Mumbai and will soon spread to other areas.
  • De-radicalisation: The Union Home Ministry initiated counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation strategy in sync with cultural, education and employment activities to counter the threat.
  • Guidelines for armed forces: The Government of India issued updated guidelines in 2016 for regulating sharing of secret operational and service data on social media platforms.
  • Monitoring social networking companies: The activities and influence of social networking sites is also being monitored by the government so that they prevent misuse of their platforms for subversive activities and other cyber threats.
  • International Cooperation is being promoted to deal with the often transnational nature of the threats.

In view of the broad threat posed by social media, the Union government needs to come up with a National Social Media Policy. All possible legal, administrative and security related efforts must be taken up to check the use of social media for subversive purposes. However, the need for privacy and security has to be balanced carefully.

- Sangeeta paul

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