On the sidelines of the Gov 2.0 conference last Friday, Communications & IT Minister Kapil Sibal passed the buck on the issue of lack of transparency in the way the Indian government blocks access to websites. Sibal told MediaNama that we should "Ask the Home Ministry, because this is a security issue." During the Q&A session following his address on governance and social media, he had ignored our question on transparency related to the bloc, choosing instead to focus entirely on another of our questions: whether the Indian government would launch a site similar to Data.gov, making important public datasets accessible to data journalists online*. Sibal on Social Media Referring to online sites, Sibal said that these sites have so far been used as a transactional medium, but we need to move them into a transformational platform, for which one will need to take a mature, collaborative method. "We've seen the power of the medium in the last six months or so," he said, "seeking to perform a transformational role, but in the absence of a balance. this is really the danger of sites like these. What happens in the process is that all kinds of opinion get both elicited and taken forward, without the necessary wherewithal, and there's a great danger, because this, I believe, is a part of freedom of speech." "Freedom of speech," he added, "has certain caveats. You can't destroy a persons reputation, you can't commit contempt of court, do things which are against national security.…
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