This is a developing story.
The Indian Express domain was blocked across Airtel and Vodafone networks (unclear if broadband and mobile both or only broadband; also unclear which other networks it was blocked on) since last evening, and has now been restored across all internet service providers. Durga Raghunath, Indian Express Digital’s CEO stated so in a tweet, adding that net4.com, a domain registrar and web host, had blocked the publication’s domain without any warning or alert.
From last evening the @indianexpress domain experienced outages across Airtel and Vodafone networks
— Durga Raghunath (@durgaraghunath) October 23, 2018
Raghunath then said that net4’s legal team told the publication that it had blocked the domain on an order from the Mumbai Crime Branch (Raghunath did not specify the reason for this), which had incidentally not asked net4 to block the domain.
The Indian Express then tweeted that it was back up live across all network providers post noon today.
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) October 23, 2018
While MediaNama was unable to reach Raghunath for further details, we have also written to Airtel and Vodafone to understand where they got the block order from, if there was such an order to them.
Some Twitter users said that the block was across other networks as well:
The outage was global and not limited to Airtel and Vodafone.
Some DNS servers may have cached DNS results which allows their customers to resolve the site for 172800 seconds (48 hours)
— @kingslyj (@kingslyj) October 23, 2018
We will update this with more information as soon as we have it.
Zoho’s domain block
Most recently, about a month ago, Zoho’s domain registrar TierraNet also blocked the Zoho domain without informing the company. Zoho went offline for an unknown period of time after TierraNet received phishing complaints. Zoho moved to a public DNS in order to get its system back up and live, while still being connected to TierraNet.
Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu told MediaNama then that TierraNet did not follow a due process and only after frantic calls and emails, and customer calls from Zoho did they restore it.
“In what sense is this reasonable at all?” he said. “If a newspaper gets a complaint saying I don’t like what you print, they can’t just turn off the domain that way… there’s a due process involved, that’s why we have a legal system… we are liable for the content we publish. Nobody sues the domain registrar.”
Journalist accounts blocked on Facebook
Earlier this month, Facebook blocked account access of a dozen journalists belonging to anti-establishment news portals. Affected journalists include Rifat Jawaid of Janta ka Reporter, Prema Negi and Ajay Prakash of Janjwarand several journalists at Caravan Daily and Bolta Hindustan.