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India Partially Reverses Porn Block

Following a backlash across the country, the government has lifted the ban on more than 800 sites.

by Kari Paul
Aug 5 2015, 3:52pm

An Indian internet user finds a blank page where porn should be. Image: MANJUNAT

People in India will get their porn back after the government reversed an online ban on Tuesday that encited public outcry over the weekend.

Officials told internet service providers (ISPs) they no longer have to block porn sites that do not contain any child pornography. Previously the government had blocked 857 porn sites on most ISPs, including Vodafone, MTNL, ACT, Hathway and BSNL.

"A new notification will be issued shortly," Ravi Shankar Prasad, the information and technology minister, said on India Today TV on Wednesday. "The ban will be partially withdrawn. Sites that do not promote child porn will be unbanned."

The ban on porn contradicted a ruling in July by the Supreme Court that said the government couldn't interfere with the right to consume the media at home. That ruling led to pressure from another court to crack down harder on child pornography. The government said the ban was not to maintain "morality and decency" as a letter leaked to activist groups stated, but to address child pornography.

Although the lifting of the ban is good news for the many who complained about blocked content over the weekend, ISPs are unhappy with the stipulation that the government is putting the onus of blocking child pornography on them.

"How can the government put the responsibility on us to see whether a website carries child pornography or not," Rajesh Chharia, the head of the India Internet Service Providers Association told the Times of India.