For those who have missed it on TechMeme and elsewhere on the blogosphere, India has banned access to a number of blogging and free website platforms.
From what I can gather the sites affected include:
- SixApart’s TypePad (and apparently it’s Blog.com service too)
- Google’s Blogspot.com
- Yahoo’s GeoCities
WordPress.com and MSN Spaces, among others, don’t appear to be blocked at this time.
The banning orders appear to have been given to Indian ISP’s by the government’s Ministry of Communication. It’s not clear why this has happened – some people are speculating that the ban is connected to intel around the organisation of the recent Mumbai Train Blasts. If that’s the case, then the ban may only be temporary.
However with no official explanation from the Indian Government it could theoretically be a step towards on-going Internet censorship.
Rather than me re-write the history so far, Neha Viswanathan (who appears to be based in India) has written this up on the fantastic Global Voices Online Blog.
As Ethan Zuckerman points out so eloquently, India has joined a very elite club… One who’s membership also includes China, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. All countries that censor their citizen’s Internet access.
Regardless of the reason(s) and expected duration for this censorship I feel so disappointed that such a progressive country like India (the world’s biggest democracy and second fastest growing major economy) would do this – even in the face of terrorism.
Let’s give India the benefit of the doubt, and assume that this is about preventing terrorism (which is ‘less inexcusable’, if there’s such a term, than blatant censorship). Even still, the only winners here are the terrorists – who continue to disrupt society even after committing their atrocity.
Thanks for picking up the story, Ben. Neha’s in London, but is from India and is in regular touch with hundreds of Indian bloggers inside and outside the country…
Believe it or not, and I believe her, Neha reads no less than 2,000 blog feeds per day. And I do mean ‘reads’. And yeah, as Ethan says, she’s in the big smoke.
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