Google Inc.,the U.S-based search engine, grabbed headlines this last week when it informed a Delhi court that they have sufficiently sanitized their site, and quashing allegations accusing them of displaying Indian culture poorly, Google added that it fully understood its responsibilities as a service provider. The search giant's Indian subsidiary, Google India is currently fighting allegations at a Delhi court, with several others over objectionable content hosting. Reports now suggest that in its statement to the Delhi court, Google Inc., however has expressed that imposing a blanket ban or monitoring content on their websites went against the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. The report further states, “Seeking to set aside the case against it, the company said that a blanket ban on certain contents from being carried by “platforms” would not be legal, given the fact that the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression.“
Facing the heat, with others
The search giant in its statement before the Administrative Civil Judge Parveen Singh, was quoted as saying, “Its mission is to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. Most services offered by it are premised on sharing of information and knowledge without the exercise of any editorial control or of monitoring by it.” Google, reportedly also spoke on behalf of its other subsidiaries, YouTube, Orkut who have been accused in this case, too. Appealing on their behalf, too, Google Inc. added that both YouTube and Orkut facilitate exchange of ideas to allow communication and access to information by the way of their platforms. Google, further stated that the content on its services, like orkut.com, blogspot.com, blogger.com and youtube.com are user generated, and that all of them are online platforms, which allow access to both information and entertainment.
Google, YouTube, Orkut, Facebook, among others have been accused of hosting objectionable content on their websites. Acting on a complaint issued by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, the government ordered the executives of each of these websites to ensure that all objectionable content, be it in the form of text (articles), images, videos, et al should be cleared. Just last week, there were reports about Microsoft India being dropped from the case, since unlike the others accused in the case they are not a social networking site. Yahoo! India, too, have on their part appealed on countless occasions that they're are an exception to the case, too, since they're essentially an e-mail and chat service provider and not a social networking site. Yahoo! India, however, have not been able to convince the courts, so far.