SAY ‘NO’ TO INDIA’S BLOGGER CONTROL ACT

Indian bloggers are rightfully indignant at the rules that are being sought to be notified (by the ministry of information technology) to the Information Technology (Amendment) Act of 2009.

As if the government of India has cracked all the problems confronting this vast and wonderful nation, the terms “blogs” and “blogger” have been defined. And the rules framed have all the hallmarks of control freaks who were behind censorship during Emergency in 1975 and the defamation bill in 1988.

There is an over-emphasis on the activities of blogs and bloggers; vast and vague reasons for blogs to be blocked or shut down; and above all, there is a specific rule on ‘due diligence on intermediaries’, which, in the context of the internet, can include readers who post comments.

Id est, you.

According to the website Kafila, the new rules, if notified, amount to little less than a Indian Bloggers’ Control Act.

The rules, which would really amount to shutting down the internet if it does not suit governments, institutions and individuals, reveal a near-complete disdain for such a thing as freedom of expression, and even less regard for those who appreciate it and aspire for it in the age of corporate media.

The Hindu has an editorial on the topic:

“The blocking of a blogging website, even if only for a short period, raises the disturbing question of curbs imposed on free speech in India through executive fiat. There is a clear pattern of Internet censorship that is inconsistent with constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression. It is also at odds with citizen aspirations in the age of new media.

“What is worrying is that the rules governing online publication are being tinkered with periodically to facilitate such filtering. The rules specifically mark bloggers for scrutiny, and require intermediaries such as service providers not to themselves host or publish any information. Evidently, this can be interpreted to cover blogs and other websites.

“What is worse, the rules propose to authorise the intermediaries to remove access to ‘infringing’ material if they themselves have actual knowledge or are asked to do so by a mandated authority. These are retrogressive provisions that weaken constitutional freedoms and the parent law.

“As it stands, the IT Act merely requires the intermediary to exercise due diligence and does not talk of not hosting or publishing information. Ideally, the only criterion online publications should have to meet is compliance with the general laws of the land.

“For instance, draft rule 3(2)(a) for intermediaries requires the user not to publish or display information that belongs to another person. Potentially, secret documents ferreted out by investigative journalists or whistleblowers in the public interest may be interpreted to belong to a third party — and blocked from the public domain.

“It is inconceivable that such a restriction could be applied to traditional media, which have a robust record of exposing corruption in high places. What all this makes clear is the need for wide public debate on any move to impose restrictions on online publishing.”

Image: courtesy Freedom of Speech

Read the full editorial: Blocking out bloggers

Read the Kafila coverage: India’s blogger control Act

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29 Responses to “SAY ‘NO’ TO INDIA’S BLOGGER CONTROL ACT”

  1. Nija Says:

    Bloody hell!
    Did we just outsource our govt. to the Mubaraks or the Gaddafis?
    Or is our govt. fearing an Indian Wikileaks exposure in future??

    When the whole world is craving for democracy, we, the largest democracy of the world, seem to be making those people think twice about democracy!!

    Shameless if these become policies on paper.

  2. Mohan Says:

    I wonder where our government gets such brilliant ideas from! Is it the old torn out minds thinking such meaningless acts?

  3. Curry Hurry Says:

    Why Worry when all first family supporters’ blogs will remain active ?

  4. Deepak Says:

    Oh my, so tragic. After all this is the liberal Govt of Churumuri’s favourite Congress party – how can they do such a thing?

    BTW : Why is it that Emergency, Defamation bill, etc, etc all happens during liberal, democratic Congress rule?
    Why is it that when the fascist, communal BJP rules, there are no restrictions imposed on any one?
    Can anyone solve this puzzle??

  5. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    Can the attempt to ensure the continued existence of our Kleptocracy be more transparent? Revolution succeeded in North Africa despite the corrupt tyrants to tinkering with the Internet. Are we racing the Chinese now?

  6. कृष्ण Says:

    it is totally against to the power of knowledge…information…

  7. austere Says:

    What are they afraid of?

  8. twistleton Says:

    No one can be THAT stupid… Can they?

  9. DailyBread Says:

    >“It is inconceivable that such a restriction could be applied to traditional media.

    What prevents NRam’s favorite party from extending these restrictions to traditional media.

    IMO, if fascist RSS declares its full support for these new draconian rules, assorted pink chaddies, jholawalas and babalog with the help of NAC will make sure that these rules will not be notified.

    We demand, Right to Blog freely(ROB).

  10. Indu Ramesh Says:

    But why?

  11. karihaida Says:

    Matte innen agatte.. kuntre nintre photo hakbidtarappa… sanna putta scamunoo newsoo. Powerge maryadene illa

  12. twistleton Says:

    Impossible Daily

    Jholawalas will never support a ban on any media including internet blogging :) The jholawala need not fear any information that reaches the public, in fact that is exactly what the jholawala wants, to shake people out of their insulated indifference.

    Also it seems to have escaped your notice that NAC is anti-govt as they can get. Aruna Roy framed the RTI Act. Wouldn’t it be just a little ironic if she or her fellow members would endorse any move by the Govt to curb information media?

  13. DailyBread Says:

    Twistle,

    >Jholawalas will never support a ban on any media including internet blogging :)

    I knew, we are always on the same side……

    >NAC is anti-govt as they can get.

    Accha, funded by tax payers money. Be very careful in your support to NAC, this may come back and bite you. Evil BJPwalas, if they come to power, may make Mohan Bhagwat its chairman and assorted cheddiwala members may decide to gift some of their favorite rights to aam admis, for e,g. Right to construct Bhavya Mandir for Ramlalla virajman at you know where…..

  14. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    What has the enormous cyber savvy class in India done to wake us up out of our lethargic stupidity? The literacy rate in Egypt is far lower than it is in India. Yet Egypt has its corrupt leaders where they belong–in police custody. We let our criminals in office thrive.

  15. twistleton Says:

    Daily

    :D Really? I don’t the Bhajapa has the spine…

  16. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    This gives us an opportunity to rebel with a cause! :D

    BJP would love such censorship laws, yesterday it has banned its leaders from tweeting/blogging about major policy decisions, IMO, it is just like Kapil Sibal’s argument against CAG — “How dare you publish the report before we could manipulate it!”

    Regarding NAC, its website’s masthead is very funnily honest! http://nac.nic.in/

    “Prime Minister’s Office” enclosed in parentheses rightly point out that PMO is run by NAC and PMO exists only to receive all the blame! What’s NAC’s constitutional status?

    Dear Big Brother govt., these censorship laws are useless and yet dangerous than your most evil anti-terror laws and if they come into operation, then good luck controlling the web! We will make sure you will perform your duty to the fullest!

    I also suggest you to fire your incompetent CERT-in team which had got domains like typepad.com blocked, it is like shutting down entire Delhi to crack down on a Chor Bazaar! As you already know, cracking down on any place/website won’t “control” anything(if those innumerable raids on Palika Bazaar has taught you anything).

  17. DailyBread Says:

    Twistle,

    >D Really? I don’t the Bhajapa has the spine…

    Look at Yeddy’s spine & guts, he has packed off nearly two dozen legislatures to home to run his minority govt. The judiciary has happily approved whatever he has done. The opposition/media/governor/civil society is bleating in pain and they cant do a diddly squat. Yeddy scores zero in asset acquisition skills but you have to salute the man for rewriting & updating the congress’s dirty tricks guide. So my friend, don’t rest easy yet.

  18. Sanjeeva Says:

    I am not able to understand the reason or logic for such an action!

  19. Akansha Says:

    I beg to differ on so-called India’s Blogger Control Act. Bloggers have power to influence opinions. Sometimes way too much. A proper act within set guidelines could stop people getting influenced by something like the pro-Naxal blog maintained and updated by them. With power comes responsibility. But then we do not check who we’re giving power to, do we?

  20. Neta Says:

    This Act will get support from all parties. All parties don’t like these bloggers and internet people. All parties unite !

    India our mahaan nation missed to act on time for 26/11 even though there was some advance warning received. People complained that we are not acting. Now there is a chance for rulers to act quickly and again people are complaining. Luckily most of you are not complaining.

    See what is happening in the world, in Egypt or other dangerous places. When govt is providing solution upfront these people are complaining (what else people do, always complain).

    [Tongue in Cheek okay? This is a parody or a paradox, take your pick]

  21. Not A Witty Nick Says:

    Akansha,

    Regulating Pro-Naxal Blogs, do you also seek to “regulate” the many left leaning newspapers and magazines which are also sympathetic to Naxals’ cause?

    If you regulate any blog, it will just go underground and make itself very cool to follow, the usually vulnerable people who are likely to be influenced very much by it, will continue to access it(especially the people affiliated to a State run University in New Delhi) and we won’t know what gets spread!

    Censorship does not help in controlling in any activity, it can only cloud but can’t prevent/remove anything.

  22. Akansha Says:

    Not a witty nick,

    Hey I am not saying that I support the Act in the present form… at the moment it is extremely biased against the bloggers because it holds them responsible for any content, including comments.

    But what I am saying is that the power to influence is with us.

    I don’t get the part about the blog going underground and vulnerable people still following it…, I mean how would that happen? :-s

  23. Bhagwad Park Says:

    No point allowing only that speech which is polite, unoffensive and clean. Every country in the world allows that! To say that India has “Freedom of speech” means it has to be something more than just what every oppressive country in the world already allows.

    Monitoring Indian bloggers this way is monumentally stupid.

  24. Bhagwad Jal Park Says:

    @Akansha

    Nothing wrong with being a “pro naxal” blog as long as it limits itself to ideology and doesn’t begin advocating violence.

    I don’t like the Naxals, but they have an ideology too which must be heard. No mere idea is so dangerous that it has to be shut down. The Supreme court agrees with this view which is why it said in 1962 that only speech which actively advocates violence can be called sedition.

    I don’t want to live in a country where a mere idea is blocked from people’s minds. After all, we’re adults. We can handle it. We don’t have to be treated like children and be told what to read and what not to read.

  25. Act of tyranny! Bill of injustice! | Sourav Roy Says:

    [...] Posted on March 13, 2011 by Sourav Roy| Leave a comment The Hindu has written against it. Churmuri has protested it. Kafila has protested it. Prashant Iyengar, Vickram Crishna and Nikhil Pahwa [...]

  26. Mahesh Vijapurkar Says:

    Why should the authorities always try to make monkeys out of their citizens/ I say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! to the anti-blogger act.

  27. Bill of injustice! « Monica Saxena Says:

    [...] Hindu has written against it. Churmuri has protested it. Kafila has protested it. Prashant Iyengar, Vickram Crishna and Nikhil Pahwa [...]

  28. skai Says:

    Don’t worry about other thing ,just see this http://www.thereligionofpeace.com

  29. china study Says:

    OK you too can compare with China “what youa re allowed to say on social networks”

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/telecom/internet/what-are-you-allowed-to-say-on-chinas-social-networks

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