- Social Media giant Facebook refused to take down hateful content from BJP Members
- Facebook’s representatives have been summoned by Committee on 2nd September
- BJP to rely on numbers in the crucial IT parliamentary meet
Days after threatening to replace Shashi Tharoor, a senior Congress leader, as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of Information Technology (IT), the in power Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now plans to use its numbers in the parliamentary panel to corner the former Union Minister over the issue of the social media giant, Facebook.
The Standing Committee has reportedly summoned the representative from Facebook on the 2nd of February after the allegations of the social media giant refusing to take down the hateful content from the BJP members in fear of harming its commercial interests in the country with a population of over 138 crore.
Members of the BJP said that they have been reaching out to the members belonging to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and also those from the like-minded parties on this issue.
A senior BJP leader who is also a part of the parliamentary committee said, “We are going to ask some tough questions to Shashi Tharoor, he will have to explain how did he announce without consulting other members to invite officials of Facebook before the parliamentary committee.”
He added, “There are set rules and procedures that need to be followed. He is the chief of the standing committee and we will seek answers from him,”.
As BJP has 16 out of 30 members in the panel, the ruling party is confident that a favourable outcome will come their way.
The Congress Party has 4 members in the Panel and the Trinamool Congress has 2. The Left parties, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) and the Shiv Sena have one each.
Anothr BJP leader said, “This is not the first time when Facebook or social media has come under the scanner of the parliamentary committee…The is if these are social media platforms then everyone should have equal opportunity to put their views across.”
The leader added that, ‘If these platforms want to edit the content then they are not social media platforms but they should be treated as any other media house,”.
The members from the saffron party have also reached out to YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) as well as the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) to add to the pressure on Tharoor.
The first BJP leader was quoted as saying, “…This committee cannot become to push the agenda of Congress,” by a leading news agency in India.
On Tuesday, Om Birla, the speaker of Lok Sabha, asked the chairmen of the parliamentary committees to make sure that the rules are strictly adhered to when the committee meetings are held.
A senior Opposition member from the Committee was quoted as saying, “It seems that only BJP is opposed to raising the Facebook issue and that too is limited to one or two of its members. We feel there are enough safeguards and the chairman is well within his rights in what he has done.”
The leader added, “Also, remember that the summons to call for representation is not sent by the chairman but by the secretary general,”.
The member also said, “As far as numbers are concerned they have an edge but parliamentary panels are non-partisan. Even if they force voting on picking of an issue, the final decision will rest with the Speaker,”.
The panel is also going to discuss the suspension of the telecom services as well as the internet services in what used to be the state Jammu and Kashmir, and also in Delhi during the riots which took place in March this year.
This, too, has come under fire from the BJP, as its senior leader and one of the panel member, Nishikant Dubey, raised concerns on how some of the issues overlap with national security.
He added, “Under Direction 55 of Speaker and Rule 270 of Business and Conduct of Loksabha, on the aspect of imposing a ban on 59 Chinese Apps including Tik Tok, @ShashiTharoorji, we can’t discuss knowing well that this aspect is entirely connected with a wider canvas of ‘National Security’,” in a tweet he posted late on Tuesday.
In the subsequent tweet, he said, “On the aspect of 4G internet not being available in Jammu & Kashmir, inspite of the fact that this matter was before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and thus, sub-judice.”
On the aspect of 4G internet not being available in Jammu & Kashmir ,inspite of the fact that this matter was before the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India and thus, sub-judice.— Dr Nishikant Dubey (@nishikant_dubey) August 25, 2020