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Web Censorship Round-Up: AMU; Facebook; Enemies Of The Internet

– AMU Blocks Facebook: The Aligargh Muslim University (AMU) has blocked social networking site, Facebook, on its campus, according to a report by The Indian Express. The report cites a University spokesperson who said that the ban was imposed since the administration realised that objectionable posts on the site hurts religious sentiments of Muslims and might flare up passions. It also points out that the actual reason for the ban could be the various campaigns that students started via Facebook groups, taking on the administration, on issues such as student elections, removal of the VC after the death of a student, among others. It’s common for Universities, schools and offices to block social networking sites on grounds that they affect productivity, but banning them on religious pretext is ridiculous, and dictatorial.

– Facebook Suspends User Accounts: Facebook has blocked accounts of all users with the surname, Chutia, including accounts of some prominent users from Assam, reports The Times Of India. It appears that the site blocked these users assuming that they were false and fabricated, since the word, is also an abusive slang in Hindi. The ‘Chutia’ is an ethnic tribe of Assam. It’s strange that Facebook is censoring user names without verifying or informing it with users, when it’s fighting a case in Indian Courts against censorship of content. We wonder why Facebook should take such action on its own. It should be only suspending accounts when they are reported by a certain number of users, that too after verification.

– Facebook Listing Tibet As Part of China: In another instance of Facebook playing by its own terms, it has enlisted Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, as ‘Lhasa, Xizan, China,’ endorsing the claim made by China, that Tibet is part of the Chinese territory. An online group, Tibettruth, which describes itself as a ‘not-for-profit network of individuals who support justice, human rights and independence for the peoples of Tibet and East Turkestan’ has launched a campaign asking Facebook to allow Tibetans to select Tibet as a part of Hometown, when they create their Facebook profiles.

– India Close To Entering ‘Enemies of the Internet’ List: Reporters Without Borders, a freedom advocacy group, has now included India in the list of “under surveillance” countries, being just a step away from the ‘Enemies of the internet’ list which includes Bahrain, Belarus, Burma, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and others. In its latest report on countries that censor the internet, the group said,” the Indian authorities have stepped up Internet surveillance and pressure on technical service providers, while publicly rejecting accusations of censorship. The national security policy of the world’s biggest democracy is undermining freedom of expression and the protection of Internet users’ personal data.”


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