Freedom to speech and expression is one of democracy's biggest boons, and India being a democracy (the world's largest, at that) featuring on Reporters with Borders' list of 'Enemies of the Internet', alongside countries, like Australia, France, Egypt and South Korea comes in quite as a shocker. The list, essentially features countries, where the citizens' freedom of expression on the Internet is restricted, and not absolute. India featuring on this list has a lot to do with the ongoing objectionable lawsuit, which has several social networking sites, like Facebook, Google, YouTube, among others facing the heat over the nature of the content posted on these websites. The Indian government, over the course of this lawsuit came out quite firmly on grounds of not hosting content, which could harm the peace and sanity of the nation, and promote disharmony. These websites, have since been asked to sanitize their content, ripping off all sorts of content that could prove difficult to deal with later.
Enemies of the Internet. India, too?
India, as such, along with Kazakhstan is a new entrant to the list and currently features on the report's 'Under Surveillance” category. Countries like Bahrain and Belarus, though have newly joined the list of the Enemies of the Internet. The list of the countries featuring on the Under Surveillance list, alongside India, include – Australia, Egypt, Eritrea, France, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and UAE. While those already on the Enemies of the Internet list, include – Bahrain, Belarus, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
About India's inclusion in the list, the report says, “Since the Mumbai bombings of 2008, the Indian authorities have stepped up Internet surveillance and pressure on technical service providers, while publicly rejecting accusations of censorship. The national security policy of the world’s biggest
emocracy is undermining freedom of expression and the protection of Internet users’ personal data.“
China, the other nation to have been included in this list, too has been known for coming down very heavily on the websites operational in the country. In fact, in China some websites aren't even accessible, which include – Google+, YouTube, Facebook that are freely accessible, elsewhere in the world. The report states that all the countries featuring in this list have put some sort of censorship on a certain kind of content, and have also come down heavily on individuals who downloaded illegal content off the Internet. The report further states that, “It also said the Arab Spring was changing the face of Internet freedom, noting countries like Bahrain that have successfully caused an information blackout with “an impressive arsenal of repressive measures” in order to curtail protest.“
Read the entire report, here.