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735 Social Media URLs and 596 websites have been blocked in India this year

In a response in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, PP Chaudhary, said that in 2017, till June, as many as 735 social media URLs and 596 websites had been blocked. This list came out before Archive.org was blocked in India. These blocks have been based on court orders as well as "recommendations of an expert committee for blocking URLs/websites". The instances blocked included "social media networking groups and websites engaged in flaring up anti India sentiments." Of course, that may not be the only reason. There is no additional information given, nor is there information on how many sites have been blocked over the past few years. But, here's what we have: URLs blocked 2012: 708 blocked, 4 unblocked 2013: 1349 blocked, 0 unblocked 2014: 2341 blocked, 32 unblocked 2015 (Jan to March): 143 blocked based on court orders 2017 (till June): 735 social media URLs and 596 websites Sources: SFLC.in,CIS India and Lok Sabha question. Of course, what is evident here is that the disclosure of information and how it is classified varies, which makes it difficult to get any sense of a trend, post 2014. For example, we don't know how many URLs were blocked in 2015 which weren't based on court orders. Or, in 2017, how many non-social media URLs were blocked, and does the government include those 596 websites in the 735 social media URLs? Remember that we've seen parliamentarians refer to the Internet as social media. We had filed an RTI for data…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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