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  India   Expunged remarks still on the Net

Expunged remarks still on the Net

Published : May 13, 2016, 1:49 am IST
Updated : May 13, 2016, 1:49 am IST

In this age of social media and digital penetration, it seems the power of expunging unparliamentary words and acts has been made irrelevant.

In this age of social media and digital penetration, it seems the power of expunging unparliamentary words and acts has been made irrelevant. The censorship being imposed by House leaders in Parliament, both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, by expunging remarks deemed unfit in Parliamentary discourse, seems to end at mainstream media as these video’s are still available through popular social media websites and the video sharing platform YouTube.

Over the past few sessions of Parliament, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha chairpersons have instructed expunging of certain proceedings and remarks made on the House of the floor. In fact, several recent expunctions by the Chair are very popular viewed content on the Internet.

 

Newly-inducted Rajya Sabha BJP member Subramanian Swamy’s attack on senior Congress leaders is among the most popular videos and has generated several lakh views. This despite the fact that Mr Swamy’s comments were expunged by the chair in Rajya Sabha and weren’t reported in the media.

Similar popularity is also witnessed in remarks of Union human resource development minister Smriti Irani, in which she makes a reference to a Hindu goddess. Though these comments too were expunged by the chair they are easily available on the Internet.

While these examples are from the recent two Parliamentary sessions, the animated and passionate speech of leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge in 2015 in which he attacked the government, several parts of which were expunged by the Speaker, is also widely viewed by people on the Internet.

 

Sources in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha television channels also expressed their inability in dealing with the issue.

“With the proceedings of the House being broadcast live it is very difficult for us when the Chair expunges a comment or a word immediately after it has been said. On-air removal of such content is not technically possible despite the broadcast being deferred live by a few seconds,” sources stated.

It is understood that by the time such orders are issued by the Chair’s office it is too late and the content is on the Internet in several forms from where removal is next to impossible.

A YouTube spokesperson said, “YouTube’s community guidelines prohibit things like hate speech, shocking or disturbing content, illegal acts, and graphic violence, and we give our users tools to flag content so that we can review and remove anything that violates our policies. We also comply with valid legal requests and remove content that is illegal, once notified by relevant authorities.”

 

Sources said if part of the proceedings is expunged it can not be reported by the media in any form.

The rules state the Speaker may order defamatory, indecent, unparliamentary or undignifiedwords be expunged from the proceedings of the House.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi