Some twenty websites are blocked by ISPs in India and online bloggers started loosing patience on the issue. Let me summarize the responses over the issues –
Nowpublic.com says one wishes that this kind of alacrity and adeptness had been displayed in arresting terrorism and their nefarious activities, this past decade or more The humiliating juncture of having to curb/stifle the voices of well meaning citizens would not have arisen!
Blogherald.com says I can understand China blocking blogs. I can understand North Korea blocking blogs. To a certain degree, I can understand some middle eastern countries blocking some blogs. But India? Give me a break.
Duncanriley.com says that is India the new china?
Sepia mutiny says under the title ‘the terrorists have won’.
Shivamvij.com targets the government officials for not answering his call on the matter of blocking the websites.
Boingboing.net went one step further, one of the blogger Manish says that The block is still spreading through Indian ISPs. This recalls Pakistan’s Blogspot ban during the Danish cartoon controversy and India’s Yahoo Groups ban in ‘03 to shut down a separatist forum.
Now have a look on the views of withandwithout.com who says that there is something so surprising about this act of censorship and people took a much little time to react to it.
Let me explain the view of the government as well- look at some websites, which have been blocked –
Indian express writes the most bothered Internet users were the bloggers, who are unable to access Blogspot.com, Typepad.com or Geocities.com pages.
It says that the order posed technical problems that resulted in a blanket ban on all blogs. According to Neha Viswanathan, Regional Editor, South Asia, Globalvoicesonline.org from London,
You cannot block a single page on blogspot.com, which is why all of them are getting blocked.
The Indian order was issued on July 13, however, the Computer Emergency Response Team (India), part of a global cyber-security network did not yet officially announce the ban.
R Grewal, a spokesperson for Spectranet has confirmed
We received a list of over 20 websites to block from the Department of Telecom, and this Blogspot.com was one of them.
According to government officials, it appears that, all the websites blocked are said to express “extreme religious views.”
Government sources confirmed late in the evening that some websites have been blocked based on police reports that they were fuelling hatred. They denied that the Mumbai blasts had anything to do with censorship and that security checks on the blocked sites were on since before the terrorist attacks.More sites ordered blocked by the government, including Hindutva ones, surprisingly.
I am always an anti-censorship folk. Ultimately it’s about boundaries. But inspite of reacting so harshly we should try to find out the reason behind that. It’s still not clear if the government wanted a few blogspot blogs blocked (more likely) or wanted a blanket block. People started comparing India with China, North Korea and middle eastern countries, these all sound rubbish completely. This is the kind of over-reaction.
Never mind the fact that India can have free and fair elections. In the end, the venture capitalists maybe taking a very close look at what the IT policy of a country says about the country’s aspirations for its citizens, international relations and its economic future.
One better thing would have been done in spite of directing ISPs, the government should have asked Google to block these sites. Google regularly removes sites on Blogspot if they do not adhere to its policies. If it helps, Google has a marketing office in New Delhi.
On the legal side, according to the Information Technology Act, 2000 web sites might be blocked if they contain pornography, speeches of hate, contempt, slander or defamation, or if they promote gambling, racism, violence or terrorism.
According to Praveen Dalal, a cyber-law expert, such sites may be blocked within the provisions of the Fundamental Right to free speech and expression granted in India’s Constitution.
The main trouble is that the ‘respected’ bloggers don’t even know the details of sites the DoT wants blocked. They started making such a hue-n-cry.
To make matters even more badly, ISPs seem to be blocking entire domains on which these blogs are hosted.