Porn Sites Banned In India

Published: August 4, 2015

Porn Sites Banned In India, The government has ordered blocking of 857 porn websites and plans to put in place an ombudsman to look into cyber content-related issues, even as a debate raged on social media over Internet censorship.

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology has asked Internet service providers to take down 857 porn websites, an official said.

The official, however, said it was a temporary measure till the final orders are pronounced by the top court.

Explaining rationale for the decision, a top government 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.

The official, however, said that since the issue is very complicated, the case must be heard in detail by involvement of NGOs, civil society, parental groups, child councillors, ISPs and government, and after hearing the views of all, let the court come with some guidelines.

There is a view in the government that when proper guidelines on the issue will come, it will create a healthy stabilising factor in the country.

“The government must be away from this whole process (blocking of porn sites). On the issue of national security, terrorism, extremism, communalism, government will have the final say…beyond that the social media divide comes into operation, let there be an ombudsman to take a call, like the TV ombudsman is there,” the official said.

The ombudsman could be a retired SC judge or somebody from the civil society. The official said all the stakeholders can give their views regarding the regulatory mechanism that should be adopted for the cyber content related issues.

The order to block porn websites, however, faced flak over social media with commentators calling it censorship of Internet.

On July 8, the government had assured the Supreme Court that all possible measures would be taken to block porn sites.

The assurance came after a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu expressed its unhappiness that things have not moved forward and the petitioner in the matter was making all sorts of submissions.

“You have not blocked the websites. The petitioner is saying so much,” the bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy told Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, said.

The bench had said no interim order can be passed in the matter which has to be examined after going through the counter-affidavit of the government department.

The apex court had earlier asked the Secretary, DoT 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 and they can do so only on the direction of the government.

It was submitted that the Centre had failed to devise mechanism to block such sites and absence of Internet laws encouraged people to watch porn videos and as it was not an offence.

Commenting on the criticism, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the NDA government was committed towards freedom on social media and Internet.

“I reject with contempt the charge that it is a Talibani government, as being said by some of the critics. Our government supports free media, respect communication on social media and has respected freedom of communication always.

“My government is committed towards freedom on the social media and communication on the Internet,” the minister said.

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, in a series of tweets, had criticised the ban of porn websites in India.

Porn Sites Banned In India

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