India puts restriction on internet freedom

By siliconindia   |   Friday, 29 April 2011, 00:04 IST
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Mumbai: Finally India has come out with online censorship. April 2011 saw the enactment of Information technology Rules Act 2011 and the new rules curtail freedom of internet speech to a very big extent. The new restriction on web content has left many offended as it destroys the image of internet as a platform of speech and beliefs. The Act says that any statement that threatens the unity, integrity; defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order are ought to be removed from the content of web. Hence the act is very vague as to its definition. This is likely to invoke even more controversy in days ahead. The new rules empower any official or private citizen to demand the removal of content that they consider objectionable on the basis of long list of criteria prepared by the information department. The Department of Information Technology is empowered to block any site that displays any disparaging material. The Center for Internet and Society, a Bangalore-based research and advocacy group, recently obtained and published a list of 11 web sites banned by the Department of Information Technology. Article 19 of the Indian constitution provides freedom of speech with reasonable restriction. These restrictions have been used so far to ban books, movies on sensitive subjects like sex, politics and religion. India has been famous in condemning speeches by famous personalities as seditious. Recently Arundhoti Roy was criticized vehemently for her speech on Kashmir issue. Again in another instance a book on Mahatma Gandhi's biography written by an American author was banned. Now Indian laws have moved towards technology and web. In 2010 India increased to 100,000,000 internet users from 81,000,000 in 2009. It is developing at a very fast pace. However India has always protested against various displays of images and statements in the social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook. Very recently a FIR was registered against facebook for potraying Indian Gods in an indecent manner. Internet has been hugely responsible in contributing towards bringing revolutionary changes. It played a very important role in bringing political change in Egypt. And India too saw huge response and support in Anna Hazare's fight against corruption.