Atanu Dey On India's Development

Attempting to Censor the Press

| 5 Comments

The government of India is trying to gag people. You might object that that is as novel as the news that the Pope is Catholic. I agree. A socialist government cannot but rest on an uninformed citizenry. Truth is as welcome to the corrupt government as sunshine is reputed to be to Count Dracula. I don’t mean to imply that the government of India sucks the life’s blood out of its citizens although that may well be true.

So now here’s the deal. If you write stuff on your blog that is not palatable to the government, you may end up in jail for up to seven years.

Nice work, Mr Manmohan Singh. Very convenient for you, you unmentionable. But here’s the problem for you. Your predecessors banned books and movies that were not to their liking and it sort of worked. But you do realize, don’t you, that in the age of the internets, it is a different ballgame? Or is it that you are totally clueless about them internets? With them internets, attempting to censor them is like breaking one link — the traffic is just routed around the failed link, don’t you know.

What’s even better, when you try to block a site which you don’t like, you end up drawing attention to it. So you are bound to fail in your attempt at censorship and how! India is regressing rapidly. That is not the least surprising for at the helm of the ship of state are people more clueless than Nehru — which is really no mean task.

Good luck on sinking the Indian ship on the shoals of reality. Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.

  • http://rexzilla.livejournal.com Rex

    I’m not surprised. As you’d said in earlier posts, the people elect the govt. they deserve. I’ve noticed a large number of people speak out in support of draconian laws like POTA to fight terror, and applaud the BJP’s campaign promises of tightening such laws.
    ‘Oh, freedom of speech is an American concept’ or ‘There ought to be some control over these things’.

    Unlike the US constitution where the First Amendment is pretty much inviolable- in India our weak kneed equivalent is just buried somewhere( I don’t know the exact article) and is subject to various conditions.
    Freedom defined is freedom denied. It’s that simple.

  • rishi

    The fact that banned items get more popular is called the “Striesand Effect”.

    However, the Striessand Effect has not been seen in India, even though we have a relatively free press and are a democracy. There are many examples where the voice of the internet has been stifled for religious, or legal reasons. The person making the comments gets threatened with legal action. Some mention is made of the legal action. However there is no dessimination of the actual censored material. There are no alternate links put up. Nobody steps up to put the text up on their blog.

    A few cases come to mind, e.g. Rashmi Bansal of JAM magazine and many many other cases on Orkut where the “ofender” is carted off by the police without so much as a peep by the rest of the internet.

  • dhruv311

    btw, for some strange reasons i have not been able to access your website for the last few months. I am only able to read the entries via google reader or i visit the site using a proxy surfing service. Even rss aggregators are not able to fetch your feed? has anybody else been experiencing the same problem?

  • http://sudiptachatterjee.blogspot.com sudipta

    Atanu, you might remember this controversy when NDTV sent a legal notice to a blogger when he blamed NDTV and Barkha Dutt for their coverage of the Mumbai terrorist attacks. We had a full blown coverage here: http://www.blogbharti.com/category/media/ndtv/

  • http://oshantomon.blogspot.com baransam

    This upcoming law is really disturbing. I wrote my thoughts at http://oshantomon.blogspot.com/2009/06/law-to-censor-expression.html