Thursday, March 24, 2011

Government trying to censor blogging?

By R Shankar, India Syndicate, 22/03/2011
Govt trying to censor blogging?
Is the Indian Government snooping on bloggers? Is a worried and nervous government trying to censor what bloggers write? Will the government snip uncomfortable opinion or comments?

Coming soon after the infamous Radia tapes where the government eves-dropped on corporate communication in hotel rooms and other private spaces, the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha by Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Tuesday during the Zero Hour.

Said Chandrasekhar: "Indian bloggers are vibrant stakeholders of democracy, they represent young thoughts and their initiatives play an important role in the Indian political system. Youth rely on the phenomenon called blogging for news, to exchange ideas, thoughts and there should no censorship or control of thought on the Internet".

He urged the Government "to prevent any form of censorship, any form of control over blogs, bloggers and Internet"

A member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, Chandrasekhar pointed out to media reports that said that the Government was proposing to block or shut down blogs as well as bloggers if the opinions posted in them do not suit Government, institutions or individuals.

He said the move is one sided as the Government was planning to publish new rules in the Official Gazette under the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2009 without inviting public opinion.

The rules, if they come into force, "will infringe upon the Right to Freedom of Expression of the bloggers and users of the internet - as the internet has become an essential part of our daily life," said the MP.

The new rules are ready to be notified in the Official Gazette and then these rules will come into force, he said.

The rules require intermediaries such as service providers not to host or publish any information, which in the context of the internet, does include bloggers.

Additionally, the rules propose to authorise the intermediaries to remove access to 'infringing' material if they themselves gave actual knowledge or are asked to do so by a mandated authority.

"The execution of these rules in its existing form will be a blow to the vibrant blogging community and bloggers. It could result in a shutting down of the internet, which is the main form of expression for growing Indians, if the information posted is found inconvenient to Government, institutions or individuals. This is certainly against our basic democratic principles," he added.

Chandrasekhar urged the Government to be transparent by inviting public opinion and involve the blogging community before finalising and implementing these rules.
Source: India Syndicate
Govt trying to censor blogging?
Comment: Success of Citizens movement like in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Tunsia, Bahrain and other ME Nations ruled by dictators/ Shiekh Royal Families is directly derived from the power of the Internet Social Networking medium. Is our country choosing to curb the Freedom of Speech or is it getting nervous? Are we heading towards a full fledged banana/ fake republic/ democracy in totality? Should it not focus on Governance and enable Democracy? It is not Governance deficit but total lack of Governance that is breeding criminals. What about Electoral/ Police/ Judicial reforms? What about passing Lok Pal Bill without dilution? Does every village have access to clean drinking water? Do we have 24 hour assured electricity in all the villages? What about implementation of RTE in all the states? The Bureaucrats seem to be misleading the Nation and misguiding the Politicians to suppress Citizen Movements working for a vibrant democracy.

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