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Internet Censorship: Reasonable or Not?
Arush Chopra Chennai, India November 24, 2006

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Arush Chopra, a former correspondent with the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) in Mumbai, India, is currently enrolled in a broadcast journalism course at the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ) at Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Of the article below, he writes: "I found that while we learned about the importance of the freedom of the press in the classroom, the school itself was trying to rob us of it. This came at a time when the Indian Government had recently banned blogs, which angered me even more, and compelled me to write this piece." Reasonableness? What's that about?
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"This site is blocked by Sonicwall content filter service. Reason for restriction: Administrative custom list settings," read the blue computer screen when I tried logging into Google's free social networking service, minutes before I began writing this piece in a computer lab at the ACJ. This restriction comes as a sequel to a similar one on Web-blog access using computers on campus. I do not know the reason for any of these bans but I hope that their imposition by the college authorities means well and is 'reasonable.' I would have known better, had a notice been served. Thus, while the freedom of expression debate surrounding the recent government ban on blogs across the ideological spectrum has cooled down in the media, it is far from over at the ACJ. Why not tell us the reason for gagging our freedom when the possible 'reasonable restrictions' on it have been spelled out in no uncertain terms in Article 19(2) of the Indian constitution? Though the question — how the ACJ defined

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Internet Censorship: Reasonable or Not? -

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Internet Censorship: Reasonable or Not? -

adolescent from taking his first drag and a filmmaker to fles out a well thought out character. It wouldn't affect most of u who can buy cigarettes and pirated movie prints at every no and cranny and post them fearlessly on our blogs, using pro servers. "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only on person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he ha the power, would be justified in silencing mankind," said Bri philosopher John Stuart Mill in "On Liberty." Mill's remark, i the present context, means that political protests and press tactics cannot be a pretext to overlook reasonableness while trying to evaluate a dissident viewpoint. And in the context of the ACJ's recent action, the message i on the wall: "Before you silence us, hear us out!"

Readers of this piece might also be interested in taking a loo our Viewpoints article on Blogs and Freedom of Speech. Omid Habibinia, February 25, 2009 Internet Shuts Down Due to Unpaid Bill Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), United Nations, September 26, 2006 A Digital Gulf Divides the World Peter Glaser, Welt am Sonntag (conservative weekly), Berli Germany, Dec. 7, 2003 Africa's Poor Connection Peter Baumgartner, Tages-Anzeiger (independent), Zurich, Switzerland, Nov. 26, 2003

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