Social media is being used to instigate mob lynching: Digvijay Singh

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Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh at Digital Press Club function in Bhopal on Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Bhopal: Senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh today expressed concern on Fake News and said mob lynching incidents are being instigated through social media.

Singh was speaking as Chief Guest at a special session on “Role of Digital Media in Transforming Madhya Pradesh” organised jointly by Digital Press Club and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Pankaj Pachouri, senior Journalist and media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, delivered the keynote address. He had a word of praise for Bhopal journalists and said they have taken the lead by setting up the world’s first digital press club. There are 110 crore mobile phones and 25 crore people in India receive internet data on their smart phones. The Government is allowing companies to collect data and rake in huge profit and there is total lack of regulation to control them. This is because they (those in power) are serving their own interests by using social media for propaganda. Finland is the only country in the world where access to internet is a fundamental right. Government of India should take a cue from Finland and make access to Internet a fundamental right, he said adding children should be educated in schools about internet and fake news. Pachouri also went on to advise the Madhya Pradesh Government by saying it could take a lead by declaring internet as a fundamental right of the people in the major cities to begin with.

Speaking on the occasion, State Public Relations Minister PC Sharma said that the Digital Press Club should present a summary of the day’s discussions for the Government’s consideration. Regarding government advertisements for news portals that have been stopped for a long time, Sharma said that a proposal in this regard is under awaiting Government’s final consent. He gave the assurance that the issue will be sorted out soon. He also gave a similar assurance regarding the Journalists’ Protection Act. The government is committed to fulfilling its promises to the journalists, he went on to underscore.

Madhya Pradesh Public Relations Commissioner P Narhari said that the impact of digital media has increased with advancement in technology and now print and electronic media will have to maintain their relevance in the digital era. The State government has started a social media department, he said adding that the advantage of digital media is that it’s reach is verifiable in exact terms.  Now video content is viewed the most when it comes to digital media, he said adding through social media, even things that otherwise used to remain hidden are now getting exposed.

Senior journalist Panini Anand said most of the serious content is now available on independent news websites. He opposed the idea of imposing any control or restriction on social media by those in power. He also had a word of caution against companies like Google and Facebook saying they are in the big business of collecting data without recruiting anyone. In fact every other person is working for these companies and “we have become unpaid workers”, he pointed out.

Senior journalist Amrita Rai advocated the importance of digital literacy.

The program was presided over by Digital Press Club President Rajesh Bhatia. Club Secretary Vinay Dwivedi gave the vote of thanks.  

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