857 Websites Blocked for 'Porn', Triggering Furious Debate: 10-Point Cheatsheet

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857 Websites Blocked for 'Porn', Triggering Furious Debate: 10-Point Cheatsheet

Since Saturday, Indians have been unable to access more than 800 websites, blocked by a government order on the grounds that they host porn, though that is not against the law in India. Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this story:

1) The ban has provoked a furious debate online about extreme and unwarranted moral policing by the government.

2) The sites that are banned include some of the world's biggest porn sites like Pornhub and Xvideos.

3) But also included in the lengthy list are torrent sites, video sharing sites, as well as comedy and dating sites.

4) A copy of the government's order, which has been marked as 'restricted', has been leaked by the Centre of Internet Studies.

5) Dated Friday, July 31, the order is issued by the Ministry of IT's Department of Telecom (DoT), and is addressed to all Internet service providers (ISP) like Airtel and BSNL.

6) The order calls for "disablement of the following URLs under the provision of section 79(3)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as the content hosted on these websites relate to morality, decency as given in the Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India."

7) The order is a result of PIL pending before the Supreme Court, which seeks ban of child porn and other such sites. During the previous hearing of the case, the Court had asked government what action had been taken.

8) "We had given names of 800 websites," said Vijay Panjawani, lawyer of the PIL petitioner. As a counter to those who said the government has no business deciding what an adult does in the privacy of his home, the lawyer said, "How can one say fundamental rights are violated? If I sleep with a prostitute or a boy within the four corners of my room, it is an offense."

9) The Supreme Court recently refused an interim order to block porn websites in India. "Somebody may come to the court and say look, I am above 18, and how can you stop me from watching it within the four walls of my room. It is a violation of Article 21 [right to personal liberty]," Chief Justice HL Dattu reportedly said last month.

10) On Twitter, author Chetan Bhagat and film-maker Ram Gopal Verma are among those campaigning against the ban."Don't ban porn. Ban men ogling, leering, brushing past, groping, molesting, abusing, humiliating and raping women. Ban non-consent. Not sex,"tweeted Bhagat.

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