India is a democratic country with freedom of speech as long as one doesn't post something on the Internet. At least that's what the current government wants to impose on the country. Back in 2011, ridiculous additions were made to the IT laws in India. The new law made it possible for anyone to get a website block if they felt that there was anything grossly harmful, blasphemous, defamatory, obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable. The problem? These are subjective and, pardon the use, grossly vague descriptions of what can be banned. In my column on these laws, I said that these clauses go against India's pillars of democracy.
Since then, there is a lot that has happened regarding online censorship in India. Our Minister for Information Technology wanted pre-screening of content being uploaded to social websites like Facebook, social networks and web services have been sued for hosting "objectionable content," and one of India's High Court judges said he'll impose China-like restrictions on Facebook, Google etc. Yeah, that's a great direction for India to be headed into. Fortunately, there is a Member of Parliament who wants the ridiculous laws removed. Now I don't want to paint him as a messiah, but he's certainly the face Internet users in India want and if in the process he does become into the savior of free speech and open Internet in India, so be it. Anyhow, MP P. Rajeev from the Communist Party of India in Karnataka has motioned for this law to be reconsidered.
Internet users in India have taken note of the motion and are rallying behind it. A petition against the law has been setup for everyone to sign and it will be sent to the people who matter. The links to the various initiatives are:
- Online petition against the law setup by Software Freedom Law Center
- Internet Democracy: A blog on the issue
- Save Your Voice: Follow the updates on Facebook
The Center for Internet & Society setup a page on their website to sign a petition against the law and they will send the entries to several politicians. Popular Indian blogging network Blog Adda joined the movement against the law and shared a video giving an overview of why the law is bad: