Pages: 1 2
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”
When Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote this famous line in 1906, illustrating the beliefs of Voltaire, Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi were not even born. Hence there is no wonder that in 2012, they reserve the right to not only disapprove but also gag what they do not like.
The latest buzz word in the cyberspace of India is #GOIblocks. Apparently world’s largest (self proclaimed) Democracy is scared of Facebook, Twitter and Google. No, these Internet giants have not waged a war against India; its just that the government is not comfortable with the voices of dissent which its own “subjects” are raising from these platforms.
We live in strange times. We have a government which has no qualms with a 40,000 strong crowd rioting and vandalizing the martyr’s memorial in Mumbai, but it frowns at a few netizens criticizing and ridiculing a largely incompetent head of the government that in turn is operated by an imported remote control with dubious credentials.
The frown was getting deeper day by day owing to the rising frustration against the way this government works (?) and behaves (shameless, arrogant and unaccountable). Before the Assam violence started, there were hints from certain ministers of the Manmohan Singh regime that they are ‘considering’ a regulation of Social Media so that the egos of their Supremos are not hurt by cartoons, caricatures, tweets, status updates etc. The migration of 50,000 North East people from Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad after some rumor mongering finally gave them the chance.
The crackdown has begun, Twitter was bullied into deleting some accounts and disabling some others, Facebook too had to disable a few accounts and many “dangerous” websites were take off air. This censoring happened after a series of directives were issued by the DoT, Government of India. The full text of the directives is available here: 1, 2, 3 and 4. A summary is provided below.
- Four directives were sent between 18-Aug-2012 to 21-Aug-2012 to the Internet Service Providers by the Government of India – Ministry of Communication and IT, Department of Telecommunications, Sanchar Bhawan, 20, Ashoka Road, New Delhi – 110001. These directives were signed by Subodh Saxena, Director (DS II) and contained the lists of urls which were to be blocked with immediate effect.
- A total of 309 items (including URLs, Twitter Handles, Facebook accounts/groups/pages, Youtube videos, blogs) have been blocked.
- There are a few websites which have been blocked at the domain level:A number of articles related to the riots in Burma and Assam have been blocked. These include articles from magazines like The Telegraph, The Times of India, Dainik Bhaskar and even Wikipedia pages.
- www.hindujagruti.org (19/8/2012)
- www.theunity.org (18/8/2012)
- www.jafrianews.com (18/8/2012)
- www.haindavekeralelam.com (19/8/2012)
- Many Blogs have been blocked. List of a few blogs which have been blocked is as follows:
Other than this, there are a large number of blog posts related to the violence in Burma and Assam which have been blocked.
- A large number of You Tube Videos have been blocked which were depicting the violence in Assam and Burma. Some You Tube user accounts have also been blocked. One of the users ajitkumar2350 has been blocked because he is “commenting on the you tube videos and provoking other hindus”. The letter asks to “Watch out for the comments and the youtube usernames of the ppl who are provoking other hindus to join the riots”.
- A number of facebook groups, pages and profiles have been blocked. While many of them are related to the Assam and Burma incidents, there are quite a few which do not have an apparent relation with them but have been very vocally critical of the Government. Notable of these are the profile/ pages of Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga and Indian Army Fans. Indian Army Fans, of which the writer himself was a member was a group mostly dedicated to the Army and I have not found it indulging in the so-called communal activities.
- The Home Ministry has been claiming that they never asked for any Twitter accounts other than the fake PMO handles to be blocked. “Government is not blocking any individual Twitter account,” a home ministry spokesperson told PTI.
It seems they have been lying blatantly. A large number of accounts have been blocked and one thing common about most of them is that they have been very vocal against the corruption and incompetency of the Manmohan Singh government. Here is a list of some of these handles:
Pages: 1 2