India puts tight leash on Internet free speech

Vikas Bajaj in The New York Times:

Free speech advocates and Internet users are protesting new Indian regulations restricting Web content that, among other things, can be considered “disparaging,” “harassing,” “blasphemous” or “hateful.”

The new rules, quietly issued by the country’s Department of Information Technology earlier this month and only now attracting attention, allow officials and private citizens to demand that Internet sites and service providers remove content they consider objectionable on the basis of a long list of criteria.

Critics of the new rules say the restrictions could severely curtail debate and discussion on the Internet, whose use has been growing fast in India.

The list of objectionable content is sweeping and includes anything that “threatens the unity, integrity, defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order.” More:

In The Times of India: New internet rules open to arbitrary interpretation

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