Saturday, December 10, 2011

[] Sibal: Hands off our internet freedom!


Dear friends across India,

Kapil Sibal is trying to censor what we can see on the Internet -- he completely overreacted after a website mocked Sonia Ghandi and now wants to block all "objectionable" net content. Let's use the Internet and social media to get Sibal to withdraw his ridiculous proposal. Sign the petition and forward to everyone:

Sign the petition!
Kapil Sibal is trying to censor what we see on the Internet. It's crazy -- we don't live in China, this is a democracy! Let's use the Internet and social media to get Sibal to withdraw his ridiculous proposal.

Kapil Sibal, Telecom Minister, is trying to impose a gag order after a website mocked Sonia Gandhi. Now he wants websites to take down anything deemed "objectionable". What an overreaction -- in England people make harsh jokes about the Queen with no consequences. If enough of us tell Sibal it's his plan that's objectionable, he'll see sense and withdraw it.

A national outcry is building right now. Let's join in and send a clear and loud message to Sibal to grow a thicker skin and admit that we're adult enough to read what we want on the net. Sign the petition, and spread the word over the internet:

This is not the first time that internet freedom in India has been under attack. Just this April, our government issued incredibly restrictive rules that gives it the power to take down any site under vague pretexts like curtailing blasphemy or protecting national security. But this new rule would make internet censorship so much worse – it forces internet providers to remove content before it's ever seen by the public. This is extreme by any standard -- even many dictatorships grant more internet freedom than this.

Our government claims that this policy will protect India from material that may hurt religious diversity, and from terrorists who may use the internet to organize. But we know that internet censorship also allows the government to clamp down on the right to dissent, organize, and stand up for our rights – a keystone of any real democracy.

India has 55 million registered internet users, and together we can ensure that we're a voice Sibal and his allies can't ignore. Sign the petition below and forward it to everyone you know – our signatures will be delivered to Sibal directly.

Over the past few years, we've witnessed the internet's power to galvanize, unify and change society, from the Arab Spring to Anna Hazare's campaign against corruption. We've also seen the crippling effect that internet censorship can have in countries like China and Iran. Let's unite and crush the most powerful censorship threat India's ever seen.

With hope and determination,

Emma, Jamie, Shibayan, Shivendra, Alex and the rest of the Avaaz team


Is the government's gag plan a threat to freedom of expression? (DNA)

Sibal tries to tame the net, infuriates many (Business Standard)

India's Authoritarian Lapse (Wall Street Journal)

Why Sibal's objection to Internet content is uncalled for

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