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Haphazard censorship? Leaked list of blocked websites in India

by Prasad Krishna last modified Aug 23, 2012 06:18 AM
An analysis of a leaked list of the websites blocked by Indian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on directions from the Department of Telecom bring to light the inconsistencies in India's online censorship efforts.
Haphazard censorship? Leaked list of blocked websites in India

An analysis of a leaked list of the websites blocked in India bring to light inconsistencies in censorship efforts.


Published in IBNLive on August 23, 2012. Pranesh Prakash is quoted.


Pranesh Prakash, programme manager at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), analysed the 309 specific items that were asked to be censored from August 18, till August 21, 2012 by the Indian government following the recent incidents of communal violence and the mass exodus of North East Indians from Bangalore.

"It is clear that the list was not compiled with sufficient care," Prakash writes in a post on the CIS website that reveals several egregious errors in the censorship process.

While the government put on its censor gear to apparently stop rumours from spreading, Prakash discovered that "people and posts debunking rumours have been blocked." Also there are some items on the list that do not even exist online.

The 309 items that were ordered to be blocked include URLs, Twitter accounts, img tags, blog posts, blogs, and a few websites.

Prakash, a graduate of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, also raises the questions on the legal standing of the government's actions. "The blocking of many of the items on that list are legally questionable and morally indefensible, even while a some of the items ought, in my estimation, to be removed," he says.

Indian ISPs are also known to go overboard in their efforts to comply with any government order. There have been numerous incidents in the past when ISPs were asked to block a specific URL and they ended up blocking entire domains. The latest round of censorship is also no different. There have been reports of Airtel blocking the entire YouTube short URL youtu.be in some cities.

CIS hasn't published the complete list of the blocked items given "the sensitivity of the issue" but has posted a list of domains from which specific items have been asked to be blocked. The list follows:

  • ABC.net.au
  • AlJazeera.com
  • AllVoices.com
  • WN.com
  • AtjehCyber.net
  • BDCBurma.org
  • Bhaskar.com
  • Blogspot.com
  • Blogspot.in
  • Catholic.org
  • CentreRight.in
  • ColumnPK.com
  • Defence.pk
  • EthioMuslimsMedia.com
  • Facebook.com
  • Farazahmed.com
  • Firstpost.com
  • HaindavaKerelam.com
  • HiddenHarmonies.org
  • HinduJagruti.org
  • Hotklix.com
  • HumanRights-Iran.ir
  • Intichat.com
  • Irrawady.org
  • IslamabadTimesOnline.com
  • Issuu.com
  • JafriaNews.com
  • JihadWatch.org
  • KavkazCenter
  • MwmJawan.com
  • My.Opera.com
  • Njuice.com
  • OnIslam.net
  • PakAlertPress.com
  • Plus.Google.com
  • Reddit.com
  • Rina.in
  • SandeepWeb.com
  • SEAYouthSaySo.com
  • Sheikyermami.com
  • StormFront.org
  • Telegraph.co.uk
  • TheDailyNewsEgypt.com
  • TheFaultLines.com
  • ThePetitionSite.com
  • TheUnity.org
  • TimesofIndia.Indiatimes.com
  • TimesOfUmmah.com
  • Tribune.com.pk
  • Twitter.com
  • TwoCircles.net
  • Typepad.com
  • Vidiov.info
  • Wikipedia.org
  • Wordpress.com
  • YouTube.com
  • YouTu.be

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