Those of you that know history will understand the importance of The Hague when it comes to human rights and prosecuting those who run afoul of this universal right that’s not always respected.
It’s called the world wide web for a reason and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few years, you’ve seen what can happen to autocrats and other despots when oppressed people get those mighty weapons, a smartphone and internet access, together. Check Arab Spring in the black and China and Russia in the red (in more ways it seems than one). Now it seems that India is getting into the fray. What you need to pay special attention to here is how downright sensitive some Indian leaders actually are.
Recently, Indian Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal showcased online illustrations of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi in less than flattering positions and said that the government would take the necessary legal or technical means to stop what he called ‘incendiary material.’ Once again, government officials try to throw the baby out with the bathwater here and Indian’s right to free speech with it.
It’s all got to the point where leaders gathered at the famous Hague recently to discuss what responsibilities governments have to protect online freedom. Russia’s Federal Security Service has also asked one of the biggest social networking sites there to black the activities of those that demonstrated against the recent elections in the land of the reborn hammer and sickle. Has everyone forgotten that even though Vladimir Putin takes a cool picture fishing with his shirt off like a Rusky Rambo, he’s still ex-KGB? That alone means he’s not a big fan of the tens of thousands if people that have been cramming the streets in opposition to his rule. You know about it and those in Russia know that you know about it, and people like Putin in Russia and Sibal don’t want you to. Facebook and Twitter scare them shitless. The kind of unrest in both countries leads to real democracy and its all fanned with the uncontrolled wildfire that’s freedom of speech fuelled by the Internet and social media.
Remember we weren’t the only people watching the advent of the Arab spring. The people with the same mindset that killed Mohamed Bouazizi’s hopes for the future were watching too, and while we were hoping and praying that their struggles would end with their freedom, the oppressors were turning their attention to quashing the instruments of free expression. Unfortunately, their efforts seem to be picking up momentum too.