In­dia drops con­tro­ver­sial ban on online porn af­ter back­lash

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

In­dia has re­versed a con­tro­ver­sial or­der ban­ning hun­dreds of porn web­sites, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day, af­ter ac­cu­sa­tions of heavy-handed cen­sor­ship in the world’s largest democ­racy.

On Satur­day, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion author­i­ties had di­rected In­ter­net ser­vice providers (ISPs) to block 857 web­sites on “moral­ity and de­cency” grounds and to curb child pornog­ra­phy, the first of its crack­down on online pornog­ra­phy in the coun­try.

But the ban drew crit­i­cism and public ridicule, forc­ing the gov­ern­ment to can­cel the or­der late Tues­day and di­rect the ISPs to al­low ac­cess to the banned web­sites, ex­cept those con­tain­ing child porn.

“ISPs are free to al­low ac­cess to the pre­vi­ously banned web­sites, which do not have child porno­graphic con­tent,” N. N. Kaul, spokesman for the gov­ern­ment’s tele­coms depart­ment, told AFP.

Although the gov­ern­ment has can­celled the or­der, some ser­vice providers said they would not lift the block un­til they have more clar­ity as the new or­der puts the onus of them to pre­vent ac­cess to child pornog­ra­phy.

“This is very vague or­der. There is no clar­ity and un­til we don’t get clear an­swers, we will keep the web­sites blocked,” Ra­jesh Ch­haria, head of the In­ter­net Ser­vice Providers As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia, told AFP.

Author­i­ties had ar­gued the ban was nec­es­sary af­ter In­dia’s top court voiced con­cern last month about the gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to block ac­cess to child pornog­ra­phy on the In­ter­net.

Ac­cord­ing to the adult site Pornhub, In­dia was its fourth largest source of traf­fic be­hind the United States, Bri­tain and Canada in 2014.

Child pornog­ra­phy is in In­dia, so is pub­lish­ing watch­ing porn is le­gal.

In­dia has been ac­cused of heavy-handed online cen­sor­ship in the past, in­clud­ing in 2012 when it or­dered 300 web­pages, im­ages and links on so­cial media net­works such as Face­book and Twit­ter blocked.

It said they were be­ing used to spread ru­mors that were fuelling eth­nic ten­sions. illegal it, but

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