In a recent revelation, the Centre has reported that the Information Ministry has taken action against 635 web links since December 2021. The move has raised concerns about internet freedom and censorship in the country.
The announcement was made during a press conference at the Information Ministry’s headquarters yesterday. The officials revealed that the web links were blocked for various reasons, including spreading misinformation, promoting hate speech, inciting violence, and supporting terrorist activities. The government emphasized that this action was taken to maintain national security and prevent the dissemination of harmful content.
“We have been actively monitoring online platforms and social media networks to ensure a safe and responsible digital environment for our citizens,” stated the spokesperson of the Information Ministry. “While we support freedom of expression, it should not be misused to propagate harmful ideologies or jeopardize public safety.”
The Centre has faced criticism in the past for alleged censorship and curbing freedom of speech. Activists and civil society groups argue that such measures could infringe upon citizens’ right to access information and have an open discourse in the digital space.
However, the government has maintained that its actions are consistent with existing laws and regulations governing online content. The Information Ministry follows a transparent process when blocking web links, ensuring that they comply with the country’s legal framework.
“We follow a stringent review process before deciding to block any web link. The decision is made after careful consideration, and we ensure that it is in line with our nation’s values and legal standards,” the spokesperson clarified.
Despite the government’s assurances, concerns about internet freedom persist. Some experts argue that the government must strike a delicate balance between safeguarding national security and upholding citizens’ rights to access information freely.
In response to growing concerns, the Centre has promised to form an independent committee of experts to assess and review the blocked web links regularly. The committee will be tasked with evaluating the decisions made by the Information Ministry and providing recommendations on improving the transparency and fairness of the process.
Citizens’ opinions on the matter are divided. While some argue that the government’s measures are necessary to combat online threats, others believe that the process lacks transparency and could potentially be misused to stifle dissenting voices.
As the issue gains attention, international human rights organizations have also weighed in on the matter, urging the Centre to uphold democratic values while addressing legitimate security concerns. They stress the importance of preserving a free and open internet, allowing individuals to express themselves responsibly without fear of censorship or retaliation.
The debate on internet freedom and censorship is likely to continue as the Centre seeks to strike a balance between maintaining national security and protecting citizens’ rights to access information. It remains to be seen how the proposed committee’s recommendations will impact the government’s approach to handling online content in the future.