Social media giants work with Indian government to censor Internet


Social media giants work with Indian government to censor Internet

Pradeep Ramanayake

8 March 2018

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, working in conjunction with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Internet technology companies, is intensifying its censorship of selected websites and social media accounts.

According to recent data, 1,329 social media URLs were blocked on the recommendations of a government committee dealing with “objectionable content” during the first 11 months of 2017. That was an almost 38 percent increase on the 964 URLs blocked or removed for the whole of 2016. In 2014, 10 URLs were blocked, followed by 287 in 2015.

Attempting to justify the censorship, an internal note from India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, declared: “While social media sites are a good medium to share and exchange information, some miscreants are also using this platform to spread rumours and posting objectionable content thereby causing disturbance in the society.”

Elected in 2014, Modi’s Hindu-supremacist Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP)-led government has implemented pro-investor economic “reforms,” including privatising public sector enterprises, slashing subsidies and further opening sectors of the economy to foreign investors.

To divert the growing opposition to its big business policies, the Modi government is whipping up Hindu communalism and ultra-right chauvinist elements to be used against the working class in general, and its political opponents in particular. Extreme-right Hindu fundamentalists have been mobilised to intimidate or silence anti-government sentiment among university students.

The ministerial note’s reference to “causing disturbance in the society,” indicates that New Delhi is acutely nervous…

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