Blogging happens to be one of the most potent instruments of self-expression, something that doesn't always add comfort to the political fraternity. Indeed when the ruler is scared of the ruled being opinionated, the archaic weapon of censorship is invariably put into action. The Indian administration (which itself is most in need of some sensible administration!) felt threatened by blogs, particularly the ones hosted by blogspot and typepad. Our government had reason to believe blogs were being used by terrorists to carry out anti-national activities. Wow, I must say our stupid politicians are getting increasingly tech savvy, at least they know about blogs!
But as the adage goes, little knowledge is a dangerous thing! The government swiftly issued an order to ban traffic from certain domains, and ISP's have gradually begun complying with it. But isn't it obvious that the 'terrorists' could and would easily resort to using other domains to communicate...or use emails and IM's to achieve the same objective? How much does it cost to register a domain and put up a site? Contrary to what the government thinks, blocking access to certain domains being supposedly used (if at all) for subversive activities is actually creating a blindspot on something that may be a source of potential trouble. The administration has simply nipped in the bud when it had the golden opportunity to lay a trap on miscreants or at least increase vigilance on such people. There have been numerous incidents of hackers being caught after boasting of their exploits in chatrooms. The FBI has frequently used the Net as a bait to lure pedophiles into traps from which there was no escape. Imagine what would have happened if the Indian politicians took over control of the US Congress. They would have banned all chatrooms! Classic Ostrich Syndrome.
Having said that, let me add how impotent the censorship is turning out to be. It's too easy to circumvent the access denial. The 'terrorists' will obviously take to this alternative route with effortless ease and it's only the thoroughly benign blogs that will have to suffer the iron curtains of censorship. Let me also add how happy I am to see people gathering force to challenge the government on the ludicrous ban. I fully endorse the way the Indian blogging community is beginning to confront many administrative policies. It's also nice to know the recently passed Right to Information Act being pressed into service by indignant bloggers who want to know the exact nature of the ban, which has until now been kept strictly under wraps. These are testing times for Indian polity!
How well does India fare when it comes to freedom of the press?
Find out! And you thought we were a free country! I guess blogs are too much for our endangered politicians to stomach! Let's work towards making these semi-literate elitists extinct! We could import foreign rulers. They wouldn't be this pathetic!