India is fast becoming a walled garden with lots of restriction on internet just like China. Govt is monitoring every activity and placing restriction on each and everything. Adding to it Department of Telecommunications (DOT) on 14th Februray 2013 issued instruction to all ISP providers in the country to immediately block access to around 78 URLs. Of this blocked URLs 73 of them are related to news on Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM). The URL blocking has been issued by a Gwalior Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Februray 14, 2013 and the DOT order was signed by Subodh Saxena.
The blockade from DOT on court’s directive was without prior intimation to the owners. The effected websites include popular online media source like The Wall Street Journal, Outlook Magazine, Careers360, The Times of India, FirstPost, Rediff, The Indian Express and The Economic Times. Interestingly one of Govt owned University Grants Commission (UGC) site URL was also under the block list. The complete list of blocked URLs has been published by Medianama. Some media persons responded to this blockade,
“Our biggest concern is that DoT has taken this action by itself. We haven’t been informed about this notice. In the conventional course, we expect it to inform the said media houses. So, at the first instance, we will take this matter up with DoT itself, and if further needed, we will take legal action also.”commented Anant Nath, The Caravan editor.
FirstPost has got a response from Arindam Chaudhari Director of IIPM saying “I suspect that UGC — at the behest of some of our petty competitors with dirty past records of filth and cheating, and public notices against them — had been deliberately spreading misleading information about IIPM to hurt its business interests and had even gone to the extent of falsely calling IIPM a fake university,”
Chaudhuri told Firstpost that last year IIPM filed a suit against Google regarding defamatory articles available online. After Google failed to comply by the order asking it to remove the content, the court asked CERT-in (Computer Emergency Response Team-India) to block ‘defamatory’ URLs till further orders. “The court has issued notice to IIPM to be as one of the respondent as well and we shall file our reply.”
In response hacker group Anonymous India protest against the blockade from DOT and hacked down main IIPM website along with 16 other websites that carry contents from IIPM. Those sites were down for more than 9 hours on Saturday.
— AnonOpsIndia (@opindia_revenge) February 16, 2013
Additionally Outlook reported, DOT had asked ISPs to block 55 Facebook URLs (personal and pages) related to Afzal Guru. DOT have not provide any reasons as to why it’s blocking this URLs, nor told under what law or court order its blocking this URLs.