So, just to clarify, this isn’t FakingNews: India’s Department of Telecom has blocked access to a Wedding photographers album on Facebook. A MediaNama reader wrote in saying that he can’t access this link, and shared the following screenshot:
We checked, and it’s working via MTNL Delhi, but isn’t working via Vodafone (mobile).
And there’s something new here: the abbreviation GRG after “Deparment of Telecommunications”, which we haven’t noticed before.
The link also isn’t working on BSNL,readers on twitter informed us, but is working on most ISPs, including Airtel mobile and MTNL Delhi. Perhaps the block hasn’t propagated to other ISPs. If you have a copy of the order for this block, please mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is a wedding photographers album blocked? We don’t know. The link appears to have nothing scandalous:
Someone in the DoT doesn’t like weddings? For us, this highlights the vagaries of blocking in India: there is no transparency from the DoT when it comes to blocking, and if a small business wants to get the block removed, the process isn’t outlined. Remember that Mobango, a mobile apps marketplace owned by the Shaadi.com guys, was once blocked in India. Why? We don’t know.
Transparency from the government of India is necessary: it will help bring accountability. While we don’t approve of blocks, if they are necessary, we had recently published a list of recommendations that we had submitted to the Indian Government on how we think they should deal with the blocks. Read them here.