Internet Block Update (06-05-2012)
Its come to my notice that the Indian government has started behaving like China. They have shut down the website cartoonagainstcorruption.com, a website that makes cartoons about corruption- and those who are involved in it. Keep a close eye on the hashtag #internetcensorshipindia
If people don't stand up for their rights and make their voice be heard, bloggers, tweeters, commenters, site owners and independent media will be gagged and controlled.
This petition is launched by Software Freedom Law center. Please sign with the right information and share this to your friends and quick and as fast as possible.
Edit (06-05-12):Vimeo and Pastebin is blocked by DOT. Website blocking has gained momentum. Lots of it. Eventually websites and blogs will be next. If you are looking someone to blame, look in the mirror. Not doing anything about it is just as bad.
I don't know how much it is related to this topic. But I have recently been in touch with a group called action committe against corruption in India. The group focuses on investigating corruption cases, carrying out cases in courts and improving public awareness on the same. Is there some place I can share the details of their website and encourage interested indibloggers to participate?
I was not sure where to ask this question. But I thought freedom of expression and corruption are closely linked issues. So thought this might be a relavent thread.
I am a Cartoonist and I initiated a battle against corruption by expressing the reality of the present scenario of our nation through my cartoons focusing politics and corruption. I started a campaign against corruption through my website www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com and during Anna Hazare’s campaign of India Against Corruption in Mumbai, I displayed my cartoons in the mob. On the very first day of Anna’s fast, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch put a ban on my website after receiving a complaint.
Even after the ban, I continued my battle and shifted the content on a new website http://cartoonsagainstcorruption.blogspot.com. But recently some blind folded people who can’t understand the objective of my cartoons have filed a case against me, claiming me as a traitor against the nation in Beed District Court, Maharashtra.
This is not the first instance when the freedom of speech and expression has been brutally murdered under the boots of politicians and some bureaucrats who believe in ‘gain in others pain’. Instead of looking upon the seriousness of the issue that why an artist is provoked to make such cartoons, these self centered people try to make their name by unnecessarily heating up the issue in the name of national disrespect.
There are several examples of cartoonists who have been taken under custody for expressing their unbiased views. Mohammad al-Amin, a Libyan cartoonist was found missing after he expressed his views against Muammar Qaddafi. Ahmed Kishore, the Cartoonist Rights Network (CRN) representative was waging a campaign against ‘Eve Teasing’ through his cartoons and he along with his wife was attacked by a group of thugs who were backed by some political powers. Political Cartoonist, ‘Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque faced a ban on two of his books, ‘Funny Malasia’ and ‘Perak Darul Cartoon’. These are some of the examples of how the democracy and freedom of speech has been put on halt in the nation and worldwide. But where is the end? Is it humanitarian to take an artist under the custody for expressing his views? Is it justified to ban the art or the expression?
Apart from a certain section of populace who are expressing their rage on my cartoons, there are some people who understand the motive of my art and are supporting the cause.
.... and nobody is going to do anything about all of this. IndiBlogger could take an initiative, if not atleast bloggers around here could write blog posts and spread the word of this cruel dictatorship of the largest democracy in the world.
fear :) , that it :)
the fear of being exposed :)
veiling it under censorship :)
need to take a firm stand :) and prevent this from going any further :X
i blogged about this reported it on my blog, have you all?
The bloggers have responsibilities too especially when we talk about the rights.
I would like to write about this topic, but, honestly I do not understand much of it. Can someone give me a hint as to in what way we simple, technically handicapped bloggers raise our voice against this?
Heres a small Gist. Aseem's webiste cartoonsagaisntcorruption.com was taken down because someone found some of the cartoons isulting. Though every body has teh right to voice their opinion on what they find offensive, the grave matter is the way it was handeled
Someone in mumbai crime branch decided that it was offensive and asked bigrock.in (company that hosted his site) to remove it and bigrock removed it without any hesitation or fuss. Aseem was neither informed,nor contacted or give a chance to keep is point of view . No court order was issued .
What is fishy in this situation is that ,the cartoons specifically targetted the corrupt and showcased the sad state of corruption. They were meant to make a social commentary on exactly what the government was trying to curb at that time
Why this incidence is significant because it signfies sort of start of censorship. Already government has issued notices to companies such as facebook.google,twitter and even suggested prescreening of content( a statement later retracted).
The whole point is, they are trying to control information and free flow of ideas. They want to have teh power to remove anything that they deem offensive. Posts which discuss corruption charges against people like sonia gandhi,rahul gandhi . Even google in its transparency report listen that most request for take down were for Legal but conreversial topics.
Thats what this is all about. HOpe it clears some air :)
Maybe other bloggers can correct me if i am wrong
Are you sure? Because its definately down. Not just for me but for everyone:http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/http://www.cartoonsagainstcorruption.com
censorship of this kind is simply going to increase security issues for each and every prominent website in the country, by the second.
Is Indiblogger not joining the blackout against censorship? Or maybe to focus more on Censorship in India alone, Indiblogger can co-ordinate with other popular forums to organize a joint black out .
its called "internet dictatorship" only we the people of India can protect our fundamental right to freedom of speech.
Or at least a logo or something! It is "End piracy, not liberty" everywhere!
Have been reading about SOPA/PIPA. Absolutely horrendous. Bill passing in USA and the whole world getting affected!!!
I mean imagine Flickr,Vimeo, etc getting affected...not just Twitter et al.
Apparently, if one single post in the blog section of a website is 'offensive', the whole domain is taken down.
So it is not just taking down of posts against corruption in India now...it is posts against anything which seem offensive (to who knows WHICH people!).
In short, no free knowledge. Nada. Talk about things getting ridiculous.
Got this from SOPA page on wikipedia (which is probably going to be one of those few pages not blacked out)
"The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) warned that websites Etsy, Flickr and Vimeo all seemed likely to shut down if the bill becomes law."
"Policy analysts for New America Foundation say this legislation would enable law enforcement to take down an entire domain due to something posted on a single blog, arguing, "an entire largely innocent online community could be punished for the actions of a tiny minority.""
In India its far worse than you think. I think the mass will only react when and if their freedom is stiffled and kept aside till they reach a boiling point. Remember, in a nutshell if SOPA is implemented then downloading a music file of micheal jackson can get you about 4 years in prison. This law in India is far worse than that.
- Remember Baazee.com? When the CEO was wrongfully arrested when its common sense that they should have arrested the people behind selling the MMS discs on that platform: lack of knowledge
- Remember some years ago when someone from Bangalore was arrested wrongfully as he was accused of being a hacker? That poor kid was in jail for almost a week I guess: lack of knowledge
- In 2006 entire blogger network was blocked "accidently" as some ISPs were trying to block access to few blogs (some say because that was when people started criticizing ISP, especially those claiming to offer broadband speed but the reality was something else- but not many people remember): lack of knowledge
- Then remember someone made a spoof IPL player blog which then there was an infamous rumour that he might be a player in IPL and reporting about the play being a fake (despite mentioning disclaimer in a simply, understandable english) that even a team apparently confronted the blogger and made it to shut down?: using lack of knowledge and power to take down a spoof/satirical blog.
- Aseem Trivedi. Biggest bad yet, although no1 talks about it. The guy has been wrongly accussed as a traitor- a charge that if found false, the plantiff at times do become guilty.: using lack of knowledge and wrongfully using religion as a sad excuse to silence him and make him pay because he participated in the Anna Hazare movement in Mumbai.
Who wants to be next?
Mind you even they make a law that is totalitarian in nature and even if it goes against the constitution and the IT law, they will accuse you and throw you in series of court cases because someone in your blog commented about a politician till the day you grow older and weaker filled with other obligations. This is how the law is formed.
The new sanction that makes the site owner responsible even for 3rd party content, then you live in a constant fear that if someone wanted to screw your happiness and plant something to arrest you while you're asleep/away and/or take/delete your site (if hosted in India and/or if your hosting company is intimidated by the court viz. unlikely unless they don't want to loose business for a small blog).
Its obvious, if the internet cannot be pre-screened they will cook up series of events in their usual fashion (maybe sabotage someone and/or something far worse- throw a blogger in jail for putting up content in the fear and suspicion that it may create a riot) and put a fear in your mind: If you don't censor yourself, prepare to be hunted down. And they will hunt you down when you are alone and without any access to voice out your opinion against this. Remember one thing, at July 2011 a massive company like reliance which blocked file sharing websites (in a way accussing that all those who use file-sharing websites are pirates) and even airtel did the same. Why? Because 2 movies starring your favourite stars: Bodyguard and Singham. They used a technicality, stating that they want websites, Indian service providers and tv operators to refrain from distributing pirated content in advance. TV operators can't do it or else their license will be cut off and they would be sued for loss of business and piracy. Most websites are hosted outside India and therefore outside Indian jurisdiction. Entire pressure is on your internet connection providers. Since its impossible to download every content that is uploaded every second by people around the world to see if it has pirated content and to protect themselves by being sued by a powerhouse company like Reliance, they block access to these sites.
This is just the beginning it goes without saying that everyone will want to make movies under Reliance because Reliance has the gunda power to control you. They will control you and yet you go and watch their movies. Don't keep your faith in Dept. of Telecom. Although there are some intelligent people there, as usual they will pressured and stiffled by the rich and the powerful, using lack of knowledge and ridiculous notion called "hurting religious sentiments" as a weapon and put you in a blanket of fear.
When Airtel blocked access to those sites, they even blocked the most active internet broadband based Indian forum India Broadband forum. Airtel broadband displayed the notice that they were ordered by Dept. of telecom. DoT did not pass the court order- but it was the judge. However to save themselves from being damaged by the media and the people, they pass the buck to DoT.
Question you need to ask yourself:
- Are you willing to spend money to watch movies produced by individuals who curb your freedom?
- Are you willing that your internet service providers can take money from you and give limited access and maybe restrict/monitor download/upload (hence becoming a case of invasion of privacy) to the internet?
- We the 99% will become the property ofthe 1%- politicians, corporates and judges who lack technical knowledge and pass the judgement without understanding- or worse- being paid/controlled to do so?
Stand for your rights. Blog about this. Tweet the politicians you follow and ask an answer. Make sure its under #internetcensorshipindia so that people can check out your question and the reply from the respected politicians. I will read it, you will read it and the editors of the independent and international press will read it. If you can even make a video blog about it, do it. I know you guys only blog when you get someone in return but you are now defending for basic constitutional right to express yourself. You cannot prevent, then you cannot cure. Look at SOPA movement. If they can do, we can. United we stand and we stand strong.
Brilliant write up TS. I am sure this has to insprie many as it did me. I have already started blogging about it, and it is very important that we convey this message very clear. India is not China, and we have to let me them not make it either. Every Indian has the right to say his views in his own way. Yes, I would also like to state that there should be responsible views that needs to be shared. It should not be flaming, it should be truth.
+100!! Fantastic reply, TS. We need to stand up against this before its too late.
so what are we planning to do guys? we need some combined effort
I am speaking to a journo in Delhi. But if Indiblogger as a core management team wants to make it official and stand against it, it will be stronger. Aseem Trivedi by default is in. Sushubh Mittal of Broadband India forum is in since this will affect him and it was Airtel Broadband that blocked access to his website back in july 2011. I am in by default. As a precaution, I think its best if people don't have their websites hosted in Indian servers, unless you are very confident that they will not wrongfully shut it down- in any case keeping a regular backups is better off.
I am in too,
i spoke to the editor of fakingnews also , he is currently caught up in some personal work but seemed quite interested.
I have given him the link to this forum, hoping he joins too
The fat lady sings!!!!! The fat lady sings!!!!BigRock finally gets a taste of its own medicine: http://bit.ly/zxzIkQI bet they're not going to have a good morning huh? Think twice before registering it in an Indian hosting site. Most of these guys are resellers so their operation is so small that a big company can damage them. But rather than using law to defend themselves and defend their paying customers they want to do the easy thing and take down the site and raise their hands up, hoping it will not come back haunt them. Well, BigRock- karma is ***** but she knows who is doing what do dude, the cake is in your face!!!!