Rethink on porn ban: Govt to issue new notification after high-level meet

After the uproar over the government ordering the blocking of 857 porn websites, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology on Tuesday announced that the ban would only be limited to those websites that host child porn.

 Rethink on porn ban: Govt to issue new notification after high-level meet

Representational image. Reuters

According to TV reports, the IT ministry will issue a new notification on the porn ban. It also announced that the websites that do not host child porn will not be banned, which is a U-turn from the government's decision to place a blanket ban on 857 websites.

"A new notification will be issued shortly. The ban will be partially withdrawn. Sites that do not promote child porn will be unbanned," Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told India Today TV.

According to CNN-IBN, the government will still ban those websites that host hardcore porn.

However, according to PTI, the ban still covers those websites which host porn. Because some websites were later found to be hosting jokes, memes and other humorous content without any pornography, Prasad called for a high-level review meeting today, which was attended by IT Secretary RS Sharma and Additional Solicitor-General Pinky Anand, among others.

It was decided in the meeting that the ISPs would be immediately asked not to block those sites that do not contain pornographic material (that includes child pornography), Prasad reportedly told PTI.

Explaining the rationale behind the original directive, Prasad said, "The instant action is basically in obedience to the observation of the Supreme Court where the court asked the department to take action on the list of alleged porn sites provided by the petitioner."

The minister said that the government is committed to freedom of communication on the Internet.

"The government compliments the dissemination of ideas on social media. We have launched the mygov platform seeking views of people of India on developmental agenda and lakhs of people are participating on this platform," he said.

Earlier, the government had ordered the blocking of 857 porn websites and had planned to put in place an ombudsman to look into cyber content-related issues, even as a debate began on social media over internet censorship.

The Department of Electronics and Information Technology had asked Internet service providers to take down 857 porn websites, an official had said.

The official, however, had also said it was a temporary measure till the final orders are pronounced by the top court.

Explaining rationale for the decision, a top government official had said the government has merely complied with the Supreme Court directive asking for measures to block porn sites, particularly those dealing with child pornography.

Until the details of the notification are available in public space, speculation regarding the exact nature of the scaling-back of the ban will remain.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Aug 04, 2015 21:03:16 IST