IIPM strategy of blocking web sites is backfiring

IIPM's court order to block several URLs involving the institute has boomeranged. The media has panned it and social media is livid. HRD Minister Shashi Tharoor has also got into the act to oppose the blockade

Anant Rangaswami February 16, 2013 11:59:22 IST
IIPM strategy of blocking web sites is backfiring

“Professor Arindam Chaudhuri, head of business school Indian Institute of Planning & Management (IIPM), has said that 73 URLs carrying content related to IIPM were blocked following an interim court order on a case filed by one of his companies,” Firstpost reported this morning.

On Friday, the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) ordered Internet Service Licensees to block 73 URLs carrying content which critiqued  IIPM. MediaNama was the first to report on this. Read more here.

“I am glad that the court has now ordered the removal of those links,” Chaudhuri said in a statement.

IIPM strategy of blocking web sites is backfiring

IIPM might begin to question the decision to go to the court in Gwalior.. Pic: www.arindamchaudhuri.com

He might not be as glad this morning, though, as newspapers have gone to town in reporting this development.

Mint front-paged the story with the headline: “Govt orders IIPM-related URLs blocked.

The Economic Times carries the story on page 3, with the headline “Govt blocks webpages criticising IIPM.”.

DNA carries the story on the front page as well, saying “DoT wants IIPM ‘virus’ off internet”.

Mid-Day has “DoT issues orders to block URLs with anti-IIPM content” as the headline, with the explicit subhead saying, “Out of the 78 URLs that are ordered to be blocked, 73 have reports on UGC's notice that declared the status of IIPM as unrecognised.”.

Incidentally, Chaudhuri is a regular columnist for Mid-Day.

This is just a sampling of the criticism that IIPM and prospective IIPM candidates will be exposed to on mainstream media. On the internet, IIPM is trending, for all the wrong reasons.  Also trending are UGC and URLs. It’s now, literally, thousands of social media users amplifying the morning’s stories, the original UGG notice and a list of all the banned URLs.

The worries do not end here. This morning, Union Minister of State for HRD, Shashi Tharoor, said this in response to a tweet from this writer. “@shyamanuja I have written to @milinddeora asking him to remove the DOT block on the UGC website. @AnantRangaswami @calamur.

What about the other URLs? “@AnantRangaswami @shyamanuja Assume @milinddeora will look into those. Blocking a UGC site concerns my ministry,” Tharoor said.

With the clamour growing in mainstream and social media, and with two of India’s more tech-savvy ministers appearing to be concerned, IIPM might begin to question the decision to go to the court in Gwalior.

Before the court order, it would have been well-nigh impossible for anyone to find all the negative stories about IIPM easily. Now, thanks to the reaction to the DoT order, all the negative stories are in one place, at the click of a mouse.

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