The Indian government has ordered the country's ISPs to block 39 overseas porn sites, most of which are forums that share adult content (tube sites?).
According to The Times of India , the sites were shuttered in compliance with a June 13 order from the country's Department of Telecom (DoT).
The authorities didn't specify any reason or law under which the websites have been blocked, only telling ISPs:
It has been decided to immediately block the access to the following URLs... you are accordingly directed to immediately block the access to above URLs.
Critics are complaining that the government is out of line. Sunil Abraham, director of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) said:
In the case of file hosts and image hosts, which people use for various purposes including for storing personal files, the DoT order is a clear overreach. Even in the case of pornography, there is nothing in the IT Act that can be used to block websites
hosted outside in India.
There is a possibility that government is interpreting some sections of the IT Act to suit its purpose but I feel that is wrong and should be challenged in the court by ISPs if they care about the rights of their users.
Howver, Rajesh Chharia, President of the Internet Service Providers Association of India said ISPs have no recourse:
We are the licensee and we have to operate under the laws... we can't pushback.
Bangladesh's telecommunication authorities have unblocked YouTube in Bangladesh after 260 days of restricting access within the country to the video
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) blocked YouTube on September 17, 2012 to ban people from watching a trailer of a US film titled Innocence of Muslims , which mocks Islam and the religious character Muhammad. The
telecoms censor claimed that it contacted Google prior to the ban asking them to remove the video, but Google reportedly refused to oblige.
The ban was lifted on June 5, 2013, making the site accessible to Bangladeshi netizens once again.
The block actually incurred a loss for the Bangladeshi economy, according to Fahim Mashroor, the ex-Secretary of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services. He said in an interview with German radio Deutsche Welle that the
outsourcing industry suffered due to the ban. Last year, Bangladeshis earned 57 million US dollars working for the online outsourcing industry.
Popular video sharing site Vimeo was blocked by Indonesia's largest telco Telkomsel for a short while. And while it was still being blocked, the only reasonable answer that the company's customer service and staff had was that Vimeo was somehow
associated with the only thing that is being widely censored in Indonesia: porn.
Pakistan pulled the plug again on YouTube just hours after unblocking the site following a months-long blackout. The order
for the censorship came directly from Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.
Previously Ashraf in September had ordered YouTube blocked after it refused to remove the anti-Islam video. Innocence of Muslims.
Earlier on Saturday the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) notified all Internet companies to immediately unblock/restore YouTube until further notice. Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said earlier said on Twitter that the decision to
allow access again was due to huge public demand.
But hours later Ashraf, after officials had said measures were being taken to filter out blasphemous material and pornography, ordered PTA to cut access. The prime minister has issued orders to block YouTube again, a senior official in Ashraf's
office told AFP,.
The privately run Geo television network reported that Ashraf issued the orders to block YouTube after it showed a report saying blasphemous content was still accessible.
A court in Pakistan has ordered a continuation of the block on YouTube in the country, after the government argued that a removal of the ban would have implications on law and order in the country.
YouTube was banned in Pakistan in September over a controversial video clip, called Innocence of Muslims , which mocked the religious character Muhammad. The country's telecom regulator said it was blocking the entire site as it was not
able to separately block individual URLs (uniform resource locators) linking to copies of the video.
The plaintiff, Bytes For All, Pakistan, has argued that the PTA has Internet filtering technology that can now be used to selectively block individual pages.
Bytes for All had asked the court for an interim order unblocking YouTube. We wanted the government to go ahead and block the 700 to 800 URLs with the blasphemous content, and remove the block on the rest of the site.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah of the Lahore High Court noted that the ban on YouTube is negatively impacting citizens, specially students, and asked the government to resolve the issue with information technology experts, and submit a report by July 25 on how
to deal with the blasphemous URLs and make the rest of the platform available, Ahmad said.
A court in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, has banned the opposition television channel K-Plus. Its two websites and several print publications carrying the channel's materials were also banned on December 12.
The court ruled that K-Plus and its associated media outlets carry information that contradicts legislative acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The studios of K-Plus are based outside Kazakhstan, and broadcasts are expected to continue. However, the websites and publications will likely be stopped inside Kazakhstan.
A number of ISPs in Tajikistan have blocked access to the Facebook social network.
The chairman of Tajikistan's Association of Internet Providers, Asomuddin Atoev, told RFE/RL on November 26 that access to the website was stopped following a request by the country's Communications Service.
The service's spokesman, Beg Zuhurov, claimed Facebook was blocked for what he called technical reasons, but he did not give further details.
Atoev said that the action by the Tajik authorities was illegal and hurt Tajikistan's image internationally.
Increasing influence of Islamist groups within Egypt has led to state prosecutor, Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, ordering the blocking of all pornographic pictures
or scenes inconsistent with the repressive values and traditions of the Egyptian people.
The prosecutor cited a 2009 that ordered all porn sites to be banned, and another this March, when an Egyptian judge decreed that all pornography on the internet was illegal.
Critics of the rise of Islamic parties in the country warn that the move will inevitably be a pretext to censor other speech, as well. Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-American activist, tweeted: '
I'm not arguing with anyone about porn but know this: 'ban' porn sites today, ban your sites tomorrow.'
Two ISPs in Paraguay have blocked the AbcColor.me website without a judicial warrant.
The website is a platform for user generated content which resembles a local newspaper, ABC Color. Any user can upload news (false news and satire are welcome) as well as pictures related to the news. Once the content is uploaded, the appearance of the
article looks like the ABC Color newspaper but has a disclaimer in the footer stating that the site contains user generated content and false news.
When users tried to access the site from the Tigo ISP they received a warning, informing them they were being redirected as the company classified the site as containing malicious software and furthermore simply denied access. It was also blocked from
After netizens became outraged and upset about this clear act of censorship by a private company, as they increased pressure on Twitter and even the Pirate Party in Argentina expressed its concerns, the ISPs unblocked the website.
Internet users in Kashmir were unable to access Facebook and YouTube after the Indian government had issued orders to ISPs to block access to the websites,
The move is believed to be in response to the protests against the anti-Islam video on YouTube but it now seems that access to the entire websites have been restricted , IBNLive reported.
In late September, reports indicated that the Jammu & Kashmir state government had told service providers to ensure that the controversial YouTube video was not accessible by users in the troubled state. Mass protests broke out in Kashmir in
September over the anti-Islam film posted on YouTube.
Responding to the blocking of YouTube and Facebook, Hameeda Nayeem, chairperson of the Kashmir Centre of Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), told Al Jazeera:
Surveillance of social media websites in Kashmir was not new. In 2010 (during the protests), Facebook was monitored and many boys were arrested because of their activities on Facebook.
There has always been surveillance ... the latest move is based on that blasphemous film, but it is just another excuse to monitor and block communication services. For instance, SMS services have often been turned off in the state.
A court in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, has blocked the popular blogging platform LiveJournal after one page was accused of publishing
The ban, which will affect an estimated 60,000 Livejournal account holders in the region, and their readers, has been opposed by internet service providers and Roskomnadzor, the federal telecommunications regulator.
The website of Iranian MP Ahmad Tavakoli has been blocked by Iranian authorities.
Gholmahossein Mohseni Ejei, the head of the internet website blocking committee, has reported that Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi ordered the restriction, and Dowlatabadi himself has said he will soon announce the reason.
Tavakoli criticized the actions of the filtering committee in February, saying such government practices create discontent among the educated strata and could in turn become very costly for the system.
Turkey's Internet censorship authorities have struck again, blocking access to Russia's largest social networking
Turkish authorities did not give any official comment on reasons for Vkontakte being blocked in a court decision on May 2. The site has more than 100m users.
According to Vladislav Tsyplukhin, director of Vkontakte's press office, the ban has not had an impact on the number of users visiting the website in Turkey:
There was a certain insignificant statistic fluctuation of around several thousand users as we often do not manage to come to agreement with some providers in Islamic countries. But the traffic in Turkey is still
at the previous level.
The Delhi Court has found blogger Jitender Bagga's blogs against Art of Living leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to be defamatory and has ordered Google to take them down. Google complied with the order.
The complaint against the blogger is for content posted on his blog hosted on Blogpost (owned by Google) at revolutionprithvi.blogspot.in and srisriravishankarisguruorconman.blogspot.in. The directive by the High Court seemed to be another harsh ruling
biased against the Internet and freedom of speech. However, if one looks at the websites listed in the complaint and the content, it does appear that Jitender Bagga was vindictive and has an axe to grind. Voicing ones opinion as form of art or literature
is one thing, going hammer and tongs against someone in a malicious and resentful attack, is something completely different.
The Pirate Bay and other large BitTorrent sites are now being blocked by ISPs in India.
Visitors who try to access the sites are redirected to a banner which informs them that the Department of Telecommunications ordered a blackout. Torrent sites are not the only target, as the blockade also censors the video sharing
site Vimeo, one of the largest communities of indie filmmakers.
According to growing reports from India, subscribers of several large Internet service providers can no longer access The Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrents, BitSnoop and several other BitTorrent sites. In what appears to be a Government-ordered
blackout, the websites in question are all being blocked at the ISP level.
Reporters Without Borders is very worried to learn that access to the Amharic website of Ethiopia's leading independent,
privately-owned weekly,The Reporter , has been blocked for the past five days. No one has been able to access the site from within Ethiopia since around 4:30 p.m. on 21 April unless they use a proxy server.
The reason for the blocking is unclear and Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to provide an explanation. Everything indicates that the blocking is being carried by the state-owned company Ethio-Telecom, since it is
Ethiopia's only Internet Service Provider,the press freedom organization said.
Media Communication Centre (MCC), the company that publishes The Reporter, has asked Ethio-Telecom for an explanation but has not yet received a response.
The Palestinian minister of communications has resigned after criticizing censorship of websites critical of the Palestinian Authority (PA) President Abbas.
Shortly before submitting his resignation to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Abu Daka accused the PA attorney-general of being behind the decision to block the news sites including Fateh Voice.
Abu Daka confirmed that a number of Palestinian websites had been blocked by the attorney-general for criticizing PA President Mahmoud Abbas and accused the attorney-general, Ahmed al-Mughni, of gagging freedom of expression and said the decision
to block the websites was illegal.
The Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency revealed earlier this week that the PA has blocked up to eight critical news sites since the beginning of the year.
The sites, Amad, Fatah Voice, Firas Press, In Light Press, Karama Press, Kofia Press, Milad News and Palestine Beituna, were all blocked. Palestinian officials told Ma'an that the order to block the web sites came from the attorney-general.
Most of the affected sites were believed to be funded and supported by Abbas's rival, former Fatah Gaza strongman Muhammad
Reporters Without Borders has launched a mirror site of radio La Voix de Djibouti's website,
lavoixdedjibouti.com , in order to help circumvent the government's censorship and allow the population to have access to a news sources to which it is being denied.
The media freedom organization invites Internet users to go to lavoixdedjibouti.rsf.org in order to access an exact copy of the original site.
As this is a country without media freedom, where only government propaganda is tolerated, we think it is crucial to help the population to gain access to other news sources, Reporters Without Borders said: While it is true that the
level of Internet use is still low in Djibouti, it is not negligible, and use of social networks in particular is growing. The population will now be able to read critical news bulletins online.
A Europe-based exile radio station that supports the opposition Renewal and Development Movement (MRD), La Voix de Djibouti began by broadcasting on the short wave and then switched to being a web radio but the authorities have blocked access to
its website from within Djibouti.
Iran appears to have blocked the official website for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Users in Iran have tweeted that they are unable to connect to london2012.com and are instead redirected to peyvandha.ir - a site offering stories from Iran's official news agencies.
Iran has already blocked UK embassy websites possibly in a bit of a censorship tiff since the propaganda news Channel Press TV was banned first from the UK, and then from Europe, being taken off the Astra satellite after a request from Germany.
Iran had previously signalled it might boycott the Olympics over claims that the official logo spells the word Zion - a Hebrew word used to refer to Israel or Jerusalem.
In February 2011 the Iranian authorities called for the logo to be withdrawn and the designers confronted . However, a follow-up letter later made clear its athletes would still participate and play gloriously .
The High Court in Bangladesh has ruled that five supposedly blasphemous Facebook pages and a website must be blocked.
The court heard the pages were deemed to have offended Muhammad and other religions.
The case was brought by two teachers from Dhaka University and Dhaka Centre for Law and Economics who claimed the pictures hurt the religious sentiment of Muslims. The lawyer making the petition, Muhammad Nawshad Zamir, claimed to the AFP news agency
that some of the images were close to pornography. Zamir added that the pages also contained disparaging remarks about the holy book of the Koran, Jesus, Lord Buddha and Hindu gods . He declined to name the Bengali-language website.
This is the first time the country's High Court has intervened, although two years ago Facebook was blocked in Bangladesh for a short period until caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and obnoxious images of the country's leaders were removed.
Uzbekistan has begun blocking the popular open-source blog and social networking site LiveJournal. Although the home page and many of
the advertised articles remain accessible, blogs contributed by certain well-known authors can no longer be accessed from Uzbekistan.
Observers have assumed that the Uzbek authorities are concerned about a potential build up of protest against the re-election of Vladimir Putin as Russian President and the flawed election process that brought this result. Contributions from bloggers and
LiveJournal users have fuelled debate and protest on this subject.
Tehran has blocked another UK Foreign Office website in Iran as part of its ever-tightening stranglehold of censorship , the foreign secretary has said.
William Hague said UK for Iranians was launched on March 14 to reach out to its citizens but access from the country was blocked on March 17. Iran had already blocked the main British embassy website in December 2011.
Britain last year closed its embassy in Tehran and expelled Iran's diplomats. It followed an attack on the embassy building, which Iran described unacceptable behaviour by a small number of protesters . However, British diplomats said they
believed it was likely the attack had state backing.
In a statement Hague said the UK for Iranians website had been established to explain UK policy and engage with Iranians and that the blocking of the site was only a very small part of what Iranians endure daily . He said Iran's government had
jammed international television channels, closed film and theatre productions, rewritten traditional Persian literature and banned the publication of some books and newspapers.