Srinagar: Instead of the frequent Internet blackout, the government is deliberating on the idea to ban social media altogether. According to sources in the PDP, the government is of the view that this extreme step is necessary to counter the use of social media especially during protests.
Kashmiri youth have been exploiting social media such as Whatsapp, Facebook and YouTube to reach out to people by streaming protests or highlighting excesses of government troops.
“There have been suggestions made that the use of online networks like Facebook, WhatsApp and Youtube should be banned, rather than snapping Internet intermittently in the Valley,” a PDP leader privy to the development said. He said that social media networks are likely to be banned for the next six months of summer to prevent further flare-up of the situation.
“It’s not the bandwidth but the use of social networks by certain sections which add fuel to the fire. Therefore, it is better to put a stop to this rather than putting a blanket ban on the internet,” he said, adding that these suggestions have been made to the chief minister.
A security officer pointed out that a “deliberate” attempt was being made through these videos to portray the government forces “negatively”.
On Monday, when hundreds of students marched and clashed with government troops across the Valley, videos of protesting students were streamed live on Facebook, promoting the government to suspend mobile Internet services. So far, mobile Internet services have been barred twice this month. Last year, Kashmir reeled under Internet blackout 10 times.
JK Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid declined to comment on the issue, saying he was not privy to the deliberations on banning social media.