Zero Hour Mention

Concern over the Imposition of Unnecessary Restrictions on Bloggers of the Internet



I draw your attention to recent reports in the media with reference to the draft Information Technology Rules, 2011 framed by the Department of Information Technology under the Information Technology Act 2010, which are ready to be notified in the Official Gazette and then these rules will come into force.

It has been reported that there is undue emphasis on the activities of blogs and bloggers, and specifically marks them for scrutiny, and requires intermediaries such as service providers not to themselves host or publish any information, which in the context of the Internet, does include bloggers.

Additionally, the rules propose to authorize the intermediaries to remove access to ‘infringing’ material if they themselves gave actual knowledge or are asked to do so by a mandated authority. 

The execution of these rules in its existing form will be a blow to the vibrant blogging community and bloggers.  It could result in a shutting down of the Internet, which is the main form of expression for growing Indians, if the information posted is found inconvenient to Government, institutions or individuals. This would also take away the Right to Freedom of Expression of the bloggers and other Internet users in the country – which is certainly against our basic democratic principles.

Hence, I urge the Government to exercise utmost caution about imposing any such restrictions on online publishing.  The Government must call for a transparent public consultation / public opinion thereon and involve the blogging community before finalizing and implementing these rules for publication and implementing them.


Thank you,