TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: India Closes Access to Many Internet Sites

India Closes Access to Many Internet Sites

Reuters News Wire (
Wed, 19 Jul 2006 20:16:04 -0500

India bans access to blogs it says preach hate

India has banned access to 17 Internet Web sites and blogs it says
preach messages of religious hatred, an official said on Wednesday.

But in scrambling to obey the order some of India's Internet service
providers have simply blocked users from looking at entire domains
such as -- and the thousands of blogs, or online web
journals, hosted there.

The government said it had written to ISPs, which it licenses, with a
list of sites to blocked in the interest of Indian security on July
13, two days after seven bombs killed more than 180 people on the
Mumbai train network.

But Gulshan Rai, director of the Ministry of Communication's Indian
Computer Emergency Response Team, said the ban order was not a
specific response to the attack.

"These blogs are pitting Muslim against non-Muslim," he said.

Bloggers have reacted with outrage at what they say is an erosion of
free speech, as well as bafflement at the sometimes surprising choice
of sites included in the ban.

"If this isn't censorship, I don't know what is," wrote blogger Neha
Viswanathan at Several of the blogs,
like, contain conservative American
commentaries on the Middle East and the "war on terror," of a kind
unlikely to stand out from thousands of others on the Internet.

At least two took passing swipes at Islam in posts referring to
suspicions that Muslim extremists may have carried out bombings in
India, but there appeared to be little which could worry those charged
with looking after India's security.

Bloggers were quick to post simple methods for skirting the ban,
including accessing some banned sites through, a
site designed for people whose blog is "blocked in India, Pakistan,
Iran or China."

And with the banned Web sites' addresses splashed on newspaper front
pages, many pointed out that the ban would have the opposite effect to
the one intended.

"The ban is just bringing more attention to these sites which can be
accessed anyway," Delhi-based blogger Shivam Vij
told Reuters.

"Before they would have had a very small readership -- most of these
sites most of us hadn't even heard of. There is no proven evidence of
these Web sites provoking violence, it's just paranoia."

Internet service provider Spectranet confirmed that it had received
the government order last week but had only been able to follow the
ban by blocking entire domains.

Its technicians were working on a more precise block that would only
restrict access to the 17 banned sites.

"We have a hell of a task on our hands," said B. C. Jain, Spectranet's
Chief Operating Officer.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at (or)

For more news and headlines each day, please go to:

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Eric Auchard: "Yahoo and Motorola to Feature New Web Phone Service"
Go to Previous message: Reuters News Wire: "Internet Child Porn Again on Increase in USA"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page