How dare India damage our porn industry? 857 sites censored by Indian government

So only 999,143 to go. Well done, Kamlesh Vaswani.

India porn ban

“Watching porn itself puts the country’s security in danger, encourages violent acts, unacceptable behaviour in society, exploitation of children and lowers the dignity of women.”

Credit: Kamlesh Vaswani

The Indian government bans hundreds of pornographic websites around the world. Bowing to pressure from a lawyer, Kamlesh Vaswani, Prime-Minister Modi's mode is to deny access to 857 sites, from a list provided by Vaswani himself.

Predictably, the censorship seems to extend to non-porn sites, too. Gee, who could have seen that coming? 

The lawyer's justification boils down to, "Won't somebody think of the women and children." Yes, something must be done about India's so-called "rape culture." And this is, indeed, Something. Sigh.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers eyeroll at pseudo-science and anecdote. Not to mention: Food for thought...

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Updated 6:59 am PDT with more comment and the latest developments]


Assisted by Suhasini Raj, David "Kingman" Barstow gets his kicks on the route of the story: [You're fired -Ed.]

Without warning or explanation, the Indian government this weekend ordered Internet service providers to block access to 857 pornography websites.

The government acted just weeks after India’s Supreme Court declined a request to block...pornography. In rejecting the request, India’s chief justice, H.L. Dattu, said adults had a fundamental right to watch pornography. ... Kamlesh Vaswani, a lawyer who failed to persuade the Supreme Court...gave thanks on Monday to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a step that the Supreme Court would not. [He] said he decided to begin a legal crusade against online pornography in response to the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman.

Government officials gave different justifications. [One] official [said] the affected sites were “found to be spreading antisocial activities as hyperlinks.” [But another] official said the ban was temporary...until the government adopted new regulations to block child pornography.  MORE


But Ernesto van der Sar thinks of the children:

The broad blocking order goes further than targeting dedicated porn sites. ... Torrent sites...are listed too, as well as 9Gag, Liveleak and CollegeHumor.

The move has sparked outrage among the public, who condemn the Government for censoring the Internet [including] some unsuspected entries. ... While blocking these torrent sites may be justified as [they] do link to pornographic content, the same can’t really be said for CollegeHumor and 9Gag.

The blocking order was issued under Rule 12 of the local Information Technology Rules, which allows the Government to block access to sites that are deemed to violate the integrity or security of India.  MORE


Don Reisinger says India is "one of the world's largest markets for watching pornography":

The ban again puts the spotlight on the place pornography takes in India and whether the country of nearly 1.3 billion people should have easy access to such content.

Pornography is extremely popular in India. Last November [one of] the world's most popular pornographic websites...reported that India was its fifth-largest market. In January, [it] reported that India had jumped to fourth place [after] a year that saw [its] users worldwide watch nearly 79 billion videos and visit the site 18.4 billion times.  MORE


So who is this Kamlesh Vaswani chap? Abhishek Saha caught up with this fount of pseudo-science and anecdotal evidence:

Sitting at his office close to Indore High Court, Kamlesh Vaswani, an advocate for more than 15 years, had heard of numerous brutal rapes. ... And then, there was the horrific gang-rape in Delhi on December 16, 2012.

Whenever 43-year-old Vaswani heard of such violence against women, he felt he should do something. He ended up drawing a connection between pornography on the internet and sex crimes. ... “I’m extremely happy,” [he said.] “The ban is definitely a step towards protecting the country’s women and children.”

He believes watching online pornography has a direct co-relation with crimes against women. Watching porn also promotes sexual violence against women and children, he said. ... “Watching porn...propels men to commit sex crimes,” he said. ... But then research says women too watch and enjoy porn. “I do not think these reports...are authentic. To say Indian women watch porn is an insult to their dignity."  MORE


Meanwhile, MK2 worries the government is missing the real target:

Maybe they should worry less about sexually repressing their population, and worry more about their very real rape culture.

I went to school in India, and the girls in our group couldn't even walk down the street alone during the day, for fear of being attacked by local men. God forbid they wear shorts, then they were really "asking for it". The issue is real, and it's dire.  MORE


Update: A slightly sarcastic Kamlesh Singh sings his government's praises:

Let us build a nation that is pure and free of distractions like deliberately naked people.

India's liberals have their pink knickers in a knot after the decisive new regime banned online porn. ... This is a tech-savvy government you can be proud of.

Pinko liberals keep pestering the government to take bold decisions, but when the government does take one, they scream murder. ... You can't have your creampie and eat it too. [It's] proof that meat-eating makes people not only randy, but also crazy and liberal. That's a threesome.  MORE


And here comes the inevitable climbdown^H "clarification":

IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad [said] the ban will be partially lifted and websites that do not feature child porn will be unblocked. ... In damage control mode, Prasad took a high-level review meeting today, which was attended by IT Secretary R S Sharma and Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, among others.

The minister said that the government is committed for freedom of communication on the internet. [And Anand] emphasized only those adult websites which had child pornographic content were blocked.  MORE


And Finally...
Food for thought
[hat tip: Andy Baio]


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