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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

India Ordered Social Networks To Censor Themselves

A number of the most popular sites in the world are ordered to censor themselves of all material that is considered offensive to Indians by February 2012. The list of the online services include such giants as Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube, Google, and 20 more – they will have to remove all objectionable content. That is considering the fact that a number of the online scandals which have hit the country recently include all pictures of women kissing men.

According to the press reports, over 20 social networking services, including the most popular ones throughout the world, have been issued summons by the Indian court, on grounds of containing objectionable material. The websites are currently charged with section 292 (which is sale of obscene books), section 293 (which is sale of obscene objects to young person), and even 120-B (which is criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

Apparently, the court order follows a complaint to the court made by some private citizen who went online and discovered that the web didn’t comply with an Indian ideal of a moral society. In case such websites fail to clear offensive material off their sites by February 2012, they would be accused of contempt of court.

A statement from the court claims that the judge had been deeply shocked by what was presented amongst the evidence to the court. He ruled that unknown individuals were selling, publicly exhibiting and distributing obscene, lascivious material, which also appeared to the prurient interests and tended to deprave and corrupt the citizens who might read, see or hear it. He added that it was also evident that such material is continuously openly and freely available to any person using the above mentioned network, regardless of their age – indeed, even underage people have full and uncensored access to such obscene material.

As a result, all the well-known names will either have to censor the web or leave the lucrative Indian online market. When facing such choice, the companies are likely to choose the first option. Meanwhile, the industry experts believe that the businesses won’t find much support from local politicians either, because the Indian government is known to be furious that its citizens are able to go online and tell bad things about the Gandhi family. 

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