India’s New Internet Restrictions

I found this article titled “India Puts Tight Leash on Internet Free Speech” from The New York Times extremely interesting. About a month ago, the Indian government’s “Department of Information Technology” passed a law that allows for both private citizens and public officials to be able to report material that they find to be “disparaging”, “harassing”,“blasphemous” or “hateful”, and for whoever is responsible for that material must take it off the internet within 36 hours, or face punishment. This is a severe setback to a country whose population has continued to modernize and grow, and this new law will definitely place limits on internet discussions and debates, which have been rising in popularity lately. The new law covers social media sites such as Facebook, and includes youtube as well.

This is definitely a limit placed on the freedom of expression and speech in India, the most populous democratic state in the world. India’s efforts to curtail free speech on the internet show that there are still those in the country and the government who believe that perhaps this new technology and access to the internet are not the best thing for the growing nation. For a country that continues to expand and utilize 21st century technology (there are now over 700 million cellphone accounts in India), this is certainly a backwards step in the protection of the rights of its citizens.

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