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Ban on porn sites, legitimate content, and limitations on social media: Indian Govt.

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ban on porn in india

ban on porn in india

The plan is to begin by creating a list of pornography sites, especially those hosting child porn, and provide that to Internet service providers (ISPs) to block. And then, to ensure that largescale blocking does not slow Internet access, service providers will be asked to upgrade their infrastructure. The Internet and Mobile Association of India has been asked to curate the list.

On September 5th 2014, 23 individuals, including Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, CERT-IN head Gulshan Rai, government officials from DoT, Deity, CBI, as well as representatives of industry bodies like IAMAI, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, CII met in the Conference Room No. 1007 at the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (Deity) to discuss how such a filter might be implemented…Not whether there should be a filter at all, but how such a filter should be implemented.

In fact, when NASSCOM raised the issue of blocking legitimate content, the Telecom Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who chaired the meeting, said that the “larger issue of respecting cultural values of the country and sentiments of the Indian society need to be considered and all possible ways and means may have to be devised in this context.”

In addition, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that, along with CERT-In , they are “working together to block websites containing objectionable contents having the potential to create communal violence and law and order problem as well as sensitive from the national security point of view. He further added that Ministry of I&B has set up National Media Centre to monitor contents of various websites on the Internet on 24 x 7 basis.”

The CRAC (Cyber Regulation Advisory Committee) meeting was looking to filteration of the web, following the filing of a writ petition by Kamlesh Vasvani in the Supreme Court of India, alleging that “easy access to porn websites results in illegal activities like rape, harassment, molestations of women.” The filter is likely to be created for censoring porn online, but as we pointed out earlier, this itself is tricky.

Why we’re worried

1. It’s not about porn alone: The problem with blocking pornography is the collateral damage that comes along with it. In the minutes of the meeting, Gulshan Rai, DG, CERT-IN, refers to a letter from Sharad Pawar, MP and leader of the NCP, to the Prime Minister, which raises the issue of incidents “of communal and related violence in Maharastra triggered by objectionable profiles posted on the social networking sites, hurting sentiments of certain sections of society.”

2. Once a filter is in place, it’s mandate will increase: The last line of the minutes of the meeting: “Regarding the misuse of social media for disturbing social harmony in the country, MCIT requested MHA to look into the matter and evolve steps to prevent misuse.”

If we set up a filter, and politicians want content blocked because it hurts certain sections of society, the government will start blocking everything. The mandate will expand to blocking other content as well.

3. We won’t know what is blocked: We’ve seen from the Department of Telecom in the past, there is lack of transparency on what all is being blocked, why it is being blocked. The Department is yet to even acknowledge an RTI filed by MediaNama, for copies of orders related to blocking content, that do not pertain national security concerns. We’ve filed an appeal with the appellate authority. But we never know what is blocked or why it has been blocked.

4. We won’t know how to get content unblocked: Today, if the government blocks a site, whether because of a court order or because a political party doesn’t like criticism, we don’t know how to get the blocks removed. There is no recourse.

5. Filters will make blocking easier: which means more blocks, implemented more quickly, and with lack of transparency, things can get crazy and whimsical.

The social media issue is concerned, the meeting doesn’t shed much light on how the content screening will take place. Will criticism of the government’s policies also come under this web-filtration? We have no details on the specifics. And let’s not forget India is the leader when it comes to blocking content on Facebook.

As the Medianama piece rightly points out the ambiguity of what could end up getting filtered is what makes this scary. Additionally the whole ‘pornography is against Indian culture’ idea is also worrying because it shows that the government is going along with a rigid definition of what is presumed as the “correct” Indian culture. More details about the meetings are available here

Credits: Medianama/Firstpost

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Misc News/Press Release

HP Govt Issues Clarification on Opening of Temples and Restaurants in State

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Himachal Pradesh Opening Temples and Restaurants from June 8, 2020

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Government has issued a clarification on a notification issued by the State Government on May 31, 2020, regarding re- opening of temples and restaurants in the State. The Government said the notification has been misinterpreted in a section of press, particularly in the social media.

A Spokesman of the State Government clarified today that temples and restaurants would open in Himachal from June 8, 2020, after SOP/guidelines are issued by MoH and FW Government of India and thereafter by the Department  of Language Art and Culture and  Department of Tourism, Government of Himachal Pradesh.

Curfew in Himachal Pradesh has been relaxed from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM, informed the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the video conferencing in the wake of coronavirus with all the Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and Chief Medical Officers of the State from Shimla on 31.

Also Read: All Guidelines for Passengers, Staff, Management Regarding Public Transport

Further, the transport services would be allowed only between 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The buses are allowed to ply with a maximum of 60 per cent seating capacity to maintain social distancing. The District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police are supposed to provide adequate police force for crowd management and law and order maintenance at all the bus stands.

The buses would be allowed to ply with not more than 60 percent occupancy and the drivers, conductors and passengers would have to follow all the safety protocols of the Health Department.

Also Read: New Guidelines Regarding Quarantine and Its Requirements

 
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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: New Guidelines Regarding Quarantine and Its Requirements

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Himachal PRadesh New Quarantine Guidelines issued on may 31, 2020

Shimla– The State Department of Revenue-Diaster Management Cell on May 31, 2020, issued new guidelines regarding quarantine rules and requirements.  According to the notification, all persons coming from high load COVID-19 infected cities will be institutionally quarantined. All asymptomatic persons coming from States/cities will be home-quarantined as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family, GoI.

Also Read: All New Guidelines for Himachal, What’s Re-Opening/Permitted and What’s Not

Other Guidelines

  1. All person coming from abroad will be quarantined as per the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI.
  2. All symptomatic and persons with ILI symptoms may be kept in institutional quarantine facilities.
  3. All persons who jump home-quarantine will be taken to institutional quarantine.
  4. Educational institutions may not be used as quarantine centres. Preference may be given to community buildings, hotels, guest houses etc.
  5. Those asking for better facilities other than identified by the District Administration may be quarantined in paid facilities pre-identified and notified by the district administration.
  6. The orchardists/agriculturalist/Contractors/Project proponents shall arrange for quarantine facility of all labour brought to the State from outside.
  7. Adequate IEC and monitoring may be done to ensure compliance of guidelines of home quarantine by the persons concerned.

Also Read: All New Guidelines for HP Govt Employees and Offices

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Govt Reshuffles 20 IAS Official, RN Batta Appointed as Advisor to CM, JC Sharma as Principal Secretary

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Himachal PRadesh IAS officers transferred on may 31, 2020

Shimla– Himachal Pradesh has reshuffled 20 IAS officials, and notification regarding their transfer was issued on May 31, 2020. Dr Ravinder Nath Batta has been appointed as Advisor to Chief Minister with immediate effect. He will also hold additional charge of the post of Principal Private Secretary to Chief Minister. The transfers came following the appointment of Sanjay Kundu as the new Director General of Police.

IAS Jagdish Chande Sharmar, who was the Principal Secretary (PWD, Transport & Information Technology), has been appointed Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister. He has been given additional charge of the post of Principal Secretary (PWD, Excise&Taxation and Information& Public Relation).

Other than IAS Officers, Vinay Singh, HPAS has been given charge as Special Secretary to Chief Minister and Special Secretary to (PWD) to Government of Himachal Pradesh.

List of All IAS Officials Transferred on May 31

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