Tuesday, March 15, 2011

If your government shuts down blogging, shut down your government

The above graphic became popular during the uprisings in the Arab world, in Egypt and elsewhere. The image of Pharaoh is modified to look like the eponymous 'V' of the famous 'V for Vendetta' movie, which many see 'an allegory of oppression by government'. Others see as 'a statement against government intervention into the lives of the citizens'.

During the best of times, the concept of Free Speech in our country is a 'tolerated' idea rather than a fundamental right. The Government of India reportedly plans to bring in something called 'Blogger Control Act", which will enable the authorities to work with Internet Access providers, filtering the content and blocking your blog temporarily/permanently if they find it 'objectionable'.

Nickil Pehwa puts it the best. He asks about the government's plan to censor online content:
How can a few people decide what we view online?
This time, even big newspapers have come out in support of bloggers' right. The Hindu says this about forthcoming Blogger Control Act:
The blocking of a blogging website, even if only for a short period, raises the disturbing question of curbs imposed on free speech in India through executive fiat. There is a clear pattern of Internet censorship that is inconsistent with constitutional guarantees on freedom of expression. It is also at odds with citizen aspirations in the age of new media. [...]
In 2009,  Namibia, and in Botswana passed laws making it mandatory for journalists and bloggers to register themselves with the government. I said:
In this mighty age of user-generated content, will they require the whole country to register themselves?
One positive thing I can think about this news is that Blogging is not dead. In fact, blogging has become so powerful that governments fear it. Take that, Twitter.

Essential Reading on the topic:

On This Blog:

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