Media News - Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The Indian government’s efforts to stem a weeklong panic among some ethnic minorities has again put it at odds with Internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Last week, a mobile phone displayed a text message spreading a rumor about northeastern Indians’ safety in Bangalore. Officials in New Delhi, who have had disagreements with the companies over restrictions on free speech, say the sites are not responding quickly enough to their requests to delete and trace the origins of doctored photos and incendiary posts aimed at people from northeastern India. After receiving threats online and on their phones, tens of thousands of students and migrants from the northeast have left cities like Bangalore, Pune and Chennai in the last week. The government has blocked 245 Web pages since Friday, but still many sites are said to contain fabricated images of violence against Muslims in the northeast and in neighboring Myanmar meant to incite Muslims in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai to attack people from the northeast. India also restricted cellphone users to five text messages a day each for 15 days in an effort to limit the spread of rumors. Officials from Google and industry associations said they were cooperating fully with the authorities. Some industry executives and analysts added that some requests had not been heeded because they were overly broad or violated internal policies and the rights of users. (New York Times)
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