Aligarh Muslim University

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For blocking access to social media on campus because it can allegedly be a cause of distraction
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has banned the use of social media on campus. According to media reports, its denial of access to Facebook and Twitter between 9 am and 5 pm was a move made in the interests of students and teachers, who were getting distracted by them.

While whether such a ban is enforceable is debatable, it smacks of ignorance of the broader benefits of social media. Facebook and Twitter have long ceased to be just tools of entertainment. They are now aggregators of news and information, as vital and more immediate than newspapers and news sites. Users, especially students, use these tools to interact and collaborate on projects. Besides, one can easily bypass such bans by accessing them through proxy websites.

It is likely that there is more to this decision than keeping distraction levels low. Earlier this year, an AMU professor, Nadeem Rezavi, was suspended after he spoke against its Vice Chancellor, Lieutenant General Zameeruddin Shah. Last November, AMU tried to ban Facebook, claiming that misleading information of a religious nature was being circulated. Such moves embarass the modernist ideals of its famous founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.