Govt picks, chooses, bans 857 porn sites

Acting on a petition to ban them, the Center has issued a directive on banning 857 porn websites; says it will appoint an investigator to deal with cyber content issues

New Delhi: Continuing in its mission to decimate pornography, the government has ordered blocking of as many as 857 porn websites. The decision faced a lot of flak and sparked off a debate on social media over censorship and freedom of speech.

Pic for representation/AFP
Pic for representation/AFP

Following the ban, the government is now looking at appointing an ombudsman (investigator) to monitor cyber content. The petition to ban pornography websites was filed by one Kamlesh Vasvani a year ago.

On July 8, the government had assured the Supreme Court that all possible measures would be taken to block such sites. The assurance came after a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu expressed its unhappiness that things have not moved forward with the case.

Waiting for orders
The apex court had earlier asked the Secretary of the Department of Telecommuni-cations to file an affidavit on whether the government was competent to issue direction to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block porn sites, particularly those showing child pornography.

The service providers had submitted that they on their own cannot block such sites, but can do so only after receiving directives from the government. Explaining rationale for the decision, an official said the government has merely complied with the Supreme Court directive asking for measures to block porn sites, particularly those dealing with child pornography.

He, however, said it is a temporary measure till the top court pronounces the final orders. The ban has been greeted by an irate Twitter crowd, celebrities and politicians included, who have projected the ban on pornography as a ban on privacy and more importantly, freedom of speech.

Crackdown
Oblivious to the backlash, the government is already making plans to employ an ombudsman to tackle cyber content issues. According to an official, the ombudsman could be a retired SC judge or somebody from the civil society. The official also said that once the ombudsman is appointed, all the stakeholders can give their views regarding the regulatory mechanism that should be adopted for the cyber content related issues.

Eye on ISIS
The crackdown on porn websites comes weeks after a similar ban was imposed on at least 40 websites for containing inflammatory content that might incite communal clashes.

This ban also included posts on social media and popular video-sharing platforms. The government had ordered blocking of 32 websites on national security concerns in December as well, as they were allegedly carrying anti-India material from terror groups such as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

The websites were purportedly containing material about an alleged ISIS member, who was arrested, and three other suspected members of other terrorist groups. Sources said the websites were being used to seduce Indian youth to join ISIS and for spreading news about alleged death of certain persons while fighting Allied Forces in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

You May Like

MORE FROM JAGRAN

0 Comments

    Leave a Reply