The Indian Department of Telecom (DoT) has reportedly issued a fresh order telling the ISPs to block 78 URLs. Interestingly, 73 of these URLs feature content related to Arindam Chaudhuri's IIPM. The news was first reported by MediaNama, which has also posted a copy of the DoT order containing the full list of URLs that the ISPs have been ordered to block.
The blocked URLs include content from The Indian Express, The Economic Times, The Times of India, The Wall Street Journal, Outlook Magazine, FirstPost, Rediff, The Caravan Magazine, and others. On the face of it, all blocked URLs seem to carry content critical of IIPM and/ or 'Director of IIPM Think Tank' Arindam Chaudhuri.
Interestingly, the list of entities also features a government organisation, the UGC, which finds its order highlighting the unrecognised status on IIPM on the banned list.
A report over at Livemint notes that the DoT directive was issued on the basis of a Gwalior court order.
As expected, Twitter users were up in arms against the order, with the move being criticised by one and all. Minister of State for Human Resources, Shashi Tharoor, was forced to issue an explanation with many irate users looking towards him for a reaction. "I have written to @milinddeora asking him to remove the DOT block on the UGC website." and "Assume @milinddeora will look into those. Blocking a UGC site concerns my Ministry." @milinddeora is the Twitter handle of Milind Deora, the Minister of State, Communications and IT, the ministry under whose purview the DoT falls.
Arindam Chaudhuri has also reacted to the developments via Twitter, "Last year, one of our channel partners had filed a suit against Google and submitted to various ISPs information on certain articles (that he considered defamatory and were affecting his business) about IIPM on the Internet. After hearing the suit, the Hon'ble Court had asked Google to remove those links as they were found to be defamatory in nature. However, Google failed to comply with the order and subsequently, the Hon'ble Court asked ICERT to block those defamatory URLs till further orders."
In 2011, IIPM had filed a lawsuit against The Caravan magazine, its proprietors Delhi Press, for the magazine's February 2011 story titled "Sweet Smell of Success: How Arindam Chaudhuri Made a Fortune Off the Aspirations - and Insecurities - of India's Middle Classes". Also included in the lawsuit were author of the story Siddhartha Deb, Penguin, publishers on a book that Deb was working on at the time, and Google for "publishing, distributing, giving coverage, circulating, blogging the defamatory, libellous and slanderous articles".