Monday, July 31, 2006

Post-mortem report on 'The censorship of blogging in India'

Here is my Post-mortem report on 'The censorship of blogging in India', If you are unable to relate to what I am saying then you should continue reading this post.

What do u understand the term 'Censorship'? According to my favorite knowledge source, Wiki, here is the definition of the term.

'Censorship is the systematic use of group power to broadly control freedom of speech and expression, largely in regard to secretive matters. Sanitization (cleaning or decontamination) and whitewashing (from whitewash) are almost interchangeable terms that refer to particular acts or campaigns of censorship or omission which seek to "clean up" the portrayal of particular issues and facts which are already known, but which may conflict with a presented point of view.'

Currently, I live in India, the largest Democratic (gives me a sense of FALSE PRIDE) Nation in the world. I presume to have/had the freedom to express myself meaningfully on any subject, until Government of India (GoI) on 13th July issued a notice to ban certain sites - Blogger - Blogpsot - Typepad - Geocities. This ban when enforced by the ISPs spread across the country, made an impact on the bloggers especially those on Blogger/Typepad only the following week i.e. 17-19th July. Even though this so called 'Censorship' lasted only for 3 days, this post mortem 'The censorship of blogging in India' shows the lack of knowledge in interpretation & implementation of the GoI's Notice by our Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

  • Why did the GoI issue a notice to ban these sites/domains?
They say that terrorists/certain groups/individuals have been using blogs as a medium for communication, spreading hatred & inciting people for varied interests.

  • But, did the GoI actually issue a blanket ban on these domains or was it the implementation failure of our ISPs in blocking only certain URLs issued by the GoI?

~ GoI - Department of Telecom's notice ~
Via: Neha Viswanathan

After looking @ above scanned version of the Actual Document of the notice, the GoI never really issued a notice for blanket ban, rather the SICK ISPs need to blamed for creating the un-necessary confusion among the bloggers and the GoI.

The Post-mortem report:
  • The ISPs should be blamed for creating the confusion & depriving the freedom of expression & making the GoI look as the 'Culprit'. I feel the ISPs should find a better methodology/process/steps in carrying out Government's notices & regulations.
  •, few bloggers & blogging as a concept, got a wide range of coverage from the National & International media.
  • Bloggers across the world were united in lending voice to this episode & I believe this led to the birth of a Google Group called BloggersCollective. If you wanna know more about them, then here are few useful links BloggersCollective and their website Bloggers Against Censorship.
  • Going further, if the GoI does plan to do something silly like issuing a notice for implementing a blanket ban on the entire blogging domains, I feel this episode should be studied carefully. The Government should address such an issue in a sensible manner by weighing lot of options before making a final call. There are millions of people who use 'Blogging' for various different purposes, U just can't make decisions based on few individual groups/individuals who abuse technology. Even if the GoI does issue such a blanket ban notice, there numerous ways to 'Circumvent' the censorship.

Even though I wanted to write a post on this subject last week, I wasn't able to do so.....Reason?....From last week I am unable to access Blogger & Blogspot from my workplace. The official reason .....Testing new things on how to utilize the available bandwidth in a proper manner.

I am very impressed with Neha Viswanathan, who has given her voice & time on the subject starting from day one. Click here to view her post which covers the entire episode with regular updates.


V N said...

that was one long read, but one that i dont regret. it cudnt probably get any more unambiguous than that.

evocative post!

manuscrypts said...

indo pak ties got a boost through the use of pk blogs.. considering the reason for the ban in the first place, it was quite a task :)

Vivek Kondur said...

Velu, Thanks for dropping by & u'r compliments 'evocative post!'.

My initial posts were very lengthy....these days I guess I have cut short :)

Vivek Kondur said...

Manu, do u think indo-pak ties wld get a boost through pkblogs??? ;)

After the recent incident of expelling diplomats on both sides....I guess things aren't looking pretty.