Monday, July 17, 2006

Blog Gag

Okaeiyy!
So, a certain uncouth element has made Wolf and myself shake ourselves up from our warm summer slumber. In a startled, electrified, yawn-still-stuck-in-throat shake up, mind you. The moulting of his winter fur and my dead brain cells still incomplete. And that, we do not appreciate. Growl. The criminal shall pay.

The perpetrator? The Indian Government. Their wake-up call to us- an order given to Internet Service Providers to block, among other sites, Blogspot and Geocities- two of the world's premier blogging sites. Their logic- these websites are anti-India! Right. And those who use, visit, browse these technology-driven portals of freedom of expression, would, by their super-competent analogy, be anti-india. Terrorists, taking their line-of-reasoning to its natural conclusion.

The icing on the cake, a quote in today's Hindustan Times- the babus "defend their decision" by asking those who access these "radical sites" to come forward "and please explain to us what are they missing from their lives in the absence of these sites."

oooooooooh! The government daring us, the citizens of a democratic country, to answer to them on how a curtailing of one of our fundamental rights- the right to freedom of expression- would translate into a viable loss in 'real' life! This is audaciousness to say the least! Wolf and I are positively smoking from our erect ears now- rain and all. And we have also run out of suitably sarcastic words.

There is something we would like to say to you- No democratically-elected government holds the right to ask its citizens to explain itself to them, especially not for actions that fall within the book of personal freedom and constitutional rights. The explanation for this blatant disregard of democracy and individual liberty needs to come from your side. We hope that that, as too a repeal of your decision, comes soon.

Until then, Wolf and I stand with shackles raised, ready to defend our territory-both virtual and realworld- from threats to our civil rights and liberties.

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P.S.-We have much more to say...keep looking for updates, and links to other blogger sites following this development. For now, we must to rush to college.

*Update 1:
Neha Vishwanathan tracks the issue with regular updates on Global Voices, Within/Without and DesiPundit.
Read posts by various bloggers protesting the censorship (yes! that's what this ban is!) at Bloggers Against Censorship Wiki.
Also check out the Blogger's Collective on Google Groups for active discussion threads on the issue.
Newspapers and news channels have begun running stories on the blog ban: Indian Express, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, CNN-IBN, CNN-IBN again.

*Update 2: Keeping track of and giving updates on seemingly inexhaustible (and growing!) mounds of information is, I have realized, a slice of cake- of the Death-by-Chocolate kinds. Too much news, too many views, too much mud to plough through and disseminate on my currently shoestring schedule. So I most happily give you some more links (here, here and here) to bloggers/blogsites that are following the issue with noses tight to the ground, while I unclog my mind and prepare an RTI letter for submission to the Department of Telecommunications tomorrow.