India porn ban reversed: government turns adult sites back on following protests

The 857 websites — mostly made up of free porn sites, but also blogs and dating companies — started to disappear over the weekend but will be switched back on so long as they don't contain sexualised images of children

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The Independent Tech

India is switching its porn sites back on, days after a ban shut down almost all sexual websites and provoked condemnation across the internet.

Indian internet companies started shutting off the 857 websites on a government-mandated list over the weekend, provoking fears about free speech and censorship on the internet. But the company is already rolling back the plan, following the widespread condemnation.

"A new notification will be issued shortly,” the country’s IT and telecom minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, told India Today TV. “The ban will be partially withdrawn. Sites that do not promote child porn will be unbanned.”

An order told internet companies that they “are free not to disable any of the 857 URLs... which do not have child pornographic content”, reports the Hindustan times.

The list of websites was released by internet campaigners shortly after the ban began to be put in place. It included blogs covering pornography and websites for finding sexual partners, alongside traditional porn video and photo pages.

Immediately after the ban was put in place, social networks erupted with criticism of the government — which instituted the plan largely without notice and on grounds that campaigners planned to mount legal challenges against. As well as arguing that the legal and moral grounds of the ban were uncertain, others said that the ban addressed the wrong parts of gender relations in India.

 

India has the second-biggest population of internet users in the world, after China. It also has one of the largest internet porn visitors, ranking fourth in number of Pornhub traffic.

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