India Dabbles in Censorship

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Censorship be a tricky business. India’s 40,000 or so bloggers were cut to the quick yesterday when the government demanded that the country’s service providers take down 20 or so “extremist” sites, an act which ended up shutting down all of the blogs in India. Goodbye Geocities; bye-bye Blogspot. A blogger for the Times of India wrote angrily, “By trying to curb freedom of expression they might ultimately manage to antagonize the last remaining support” for the government. The Guardian reports that 300 Delhi-based bloggers are circulating a petition to demand the reinstatement of their sites.

In the wake of last week’s vicious attacks on seven Mumbai trains, Indian authorities are targeting sites that they say foment religious or political animosities. But as the Times blogger notes, “While one must concede that there are a few rotten apples in every sphere, to typecast blogging, per se, as being anti national, is a bit over the top.” Fortunately, it appears the problem will be short-lived: officials are promising to develop a more pin-pointed way to censor Indian bloggers (cyber smart bombs, perhaps?), and to allow the rest of the bunch back online. As one blogger wrote, “It is completely ridiculous… We are not living in China here.” Good thing, too.

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without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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