Tag Archives: Chilling effects India

Unpacking India’s Internet Censorship Debate

Recent debates on Internet censorship in India have focused to the allegedly free-for-all nature of the internet. Those of us who have argued against internet censorship have been somewhat misrepresented as arguing for absolute freedom whereby the reasonable restrictions laid down in Article 19 (A) of the Constitution of India don’t apply. Nothing could be farther than the truth.

It has been said that the internet can be used to incite violence, particularly inter-communal violence, and there needs to be a mechanism to prevent that. Communications minister Kapil Sibal wants internet giants to “self-regulate” for this reason, denying that he wants to censor political dissent on the internet. Following on the heels of his expression of such concern in December 2011, Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi and journalist Vinay Rai filed cases against various internet companies for similar material that is religiously offensive.It needs to be pointed out, however, that the cases filed by Qasmi and Rai are under the Indian Penal Code and do not even invoke the Information Technology Act. So if the Indian Penal Code can be used against religiously offensive material why do we need any new mechanism to “regulate” or even “self-regulate” the internet? Continue reading Unpacking India’s Internet Censorship Debate

Freedom in the Cage: Photos from a protest against internet censorship in Delhi

These photographs were taken at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Sunday, 22 April, by MUKUL DUBE. This protest was organised by the Aseem Trivedi led Save Your Voice campaign against India’s IT Rules 2011 that, as has been explained earlier on this blog, are a set of procedures that are already causing internet censorship in India bypassing the right to legal remedy and natural justice. Trivedi’s website, http://www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com, was taken down by its domain registrar and he was not even informed in advance, thanks to these rules. The Rajya Sabha, upper house of the Indian Parliament, will debate these rules any time between 24 April and 9 May. You can urge all Rajya Sabha MPs to vote for the motion in a petition here or write directly to Rajya Sabha MPs from your state, in just a few clicks, here.

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What’s up with India’s IT Rules?


The IT Rules of 2011 will come up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha very soon under an annulment motion.

Urge all Rajya Sabha MPs to vote for the motion in a petition here or write directly to Rajya Sabha MPs from your state, in just a few clicks, here.

Here’s an FAQ on the IT Rules by SFLC.in and here’s an analysis of the rules by PRS Legislative Research.

Rajya Sabha to consider repealing Kapil Sibal’s IT Rules

When the Parliament’s budget session re-opens on April 24, the Rajya Sabha will vote on an annulment motion against the IT Rules promulgated in April 2011 that provide for “intermediaries” to remove the online content they are asked to by anyone. The motion has been moved by P Rajeeve, Rajya Sabha member from the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

Speaking on the phone from Thrissur, Rajeeve said, “The IT Rules go against the Fundamental Rights of the Constitution and against the principles of natural justice which are the foundation of our criminal justice system. The rules ask intermediaries to remove content without giving the content owner an opportunity to defend it. They will cause private censorship.”

The Left parties have decided to back the motion and efforts are on to mobilise members of Parliament across party lines. If the motion is accepted by the Rajya Sabha, it will be sent to the Lok Sabha, probably in the monsoon session. Continue reading Rajya Sabha to consider repealing Kapil Sibal’s IT Rules