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Social media benefits outweigh the negatives: IT Secretary

Hyderabad: The benefits of social media outweigh the negatives but there is a need to create awareness to tap its potential, said Jayesh Ranjan, IT Secretary, Government of Telangana.

“WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., are messengers. They are a reflection of what’s happening in society. They are more democratic than conventional media and empower the common people,” he said.

He was speaking at the inaugural of ‘Voice Positive’, a two-day workshop on ways to promote more positive voices on social media, organised by Facebook and Swaniti in association with Department of Journalism & Mass Communication, (OU) and ICSSR (SR) on Thursday.

Noting that social media are also being used for hate campaigns and terrorist recruitment, Ranjan pointed out that there was a need for a law to control these trends, especially given that the Supreme Court struck down Section 66(A) of IT Act, 2000, and the relatively mild provisions of Section 153 of Indian Penal Code.

Ranjan also advocated awareness campaigns to ensure semi-literate people do not fall prey to false messages, and praised the campaigns run by Telangana police and the Information & Public Relations department on online security and etiquette.

Highlighting the problem of trolling on social media, Uma Sudhir, Resident Editor of NDTV, called for a “counter narrative from people, rather than regulations from the government”.

Film-maker Elahe Hiptoola asked students not to take the social media as the gospel truth, underscoring the fact that the virtual world is different from the real world. Pointing out how a falsehood is repeated on social media to make it look like the truth, Hiptoola said: “Apply your minds. It’s the smart thing to do”.

Prof. D. Ravinder, Principal, Arts College urged students to inculcate positive thinking and help build the nation.

Earlier, Prof. K. Stevenson, Head, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, welcomed the participants and highlighted the need for such workshops. Over 50 students/ researchers/ faculty members from affiliated colleges and the University attended the workshop.

Prof. B. Balaswamy, Chairperson, Board of Studies, proposed a vote of thanks. (INN)

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