India, a country that is undisputedly the world’s largest democracy, is always wary of its all-powerful neighbour, China. In terms of censorship of the Internet, or any other media, China has always been the leading country. However, it seems that India is doing his best to catch up on her arrival. Today, news has emerged that the Indian government has requested of the Internet service providers, as well as mobile operators to block the access of over 32 websites, citing the reason of the censorship law.
Websites like daily motion, paste bin, Imgur, Vimeo and GitHub featured amongst the list of 32 websites that were asked to be blocked by the Internet service provider. This list was provided by Praneshpakesh, the director of the Centre for Internet and Society, located in Bangalore. According to the official report, they were said to contain offensive material, mostly pertaining to the terrorist group, ISIS. This could lead to widespread terrorism and the spawning of small terrorist hubs, located all across the country. According to the BharatiyaJanata particular party, this was the main reason as to why the censorship was done to the websites in the list.
However, according to the latest report, websites of GutHub, Vimeo and Weebly, along with daily motion has been lifted from the restrictions. However, all the other websites have been blacklisted. This is somewhat a partial good news for the people that may have spent a lot of time in the above-mentioned websites for all their daily content needs. Responding to the censorship is of the government, a lot of Internet service providers have already restricted access to such websites. According to the report provided by Times of India, a leading newspaper, most of its correspondence has not been able to get access to the websites listed, with the help of the Vodafone 3G services.
However, those websites could be accessed by most of the local Internet service providers, as well as a lot of other competing wireless network provider. There has been a long-standing issue with the Indian government trying to censor most of the entertainment websites, as it contains media that may not be suitable for the consumption of the general population in the country. However, there were also a lot of websites that may not have had any sort of offensive content, but ended up in the list. In the case of GitHub, which only has about 8 million registered users, this was not at all a very well-informed decision. It may be the content of a single page that may have triggered the decision, but the general website is filled with content that has nothing to do with terrorism.
With this sanction, there is definitely going to be uproar with the people looking out to get rid of censorship from the Internet media. This week has already seen Airtel pulling back on their promise of increasing the tariff for VoIP calls. There is a lot of commotion in the Internet sector in India, and this particular censorship tops the list.