Internet freedom in India is only partly free as per the latest report of Freedom House. Freedom House has released their latest report “Freedom on the Net 2013 A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media” in collaboration with Google.
Sanja Kelly, project director for Freedom on the Net at Freedom House said While blocking and filtering remain the preferred methods of censorship in many countries, governments are increasingly looking at who is saying what online, and finding ways to punish them,” . She added “In some countries, a user can get arrested for simply posting on Facebook or for “liking” a friend’s comment that is critical of the authorities,” .
Google has worked closely with Freedom House on this project. Google has also sponsored this project of Freedom House. Sanja Kelly presented the key findings of report and surprisingly India featured in her presentation many times. She particularly pointed two incidents happened in India
- Two girls were arrested in Mumbai for criticizing shutdown of Mumbai after death of Bal Thackeray in 2012.
- Arrest of cartoonist Assem Trivedi.
In her presentation Sanja Kelly was very particular about India. She said “India is really an interesting case which being the largest democracy, however the number of arrest over past year has skyrocketed particularly of Social Media users and the a whole range of issues like content deletion, blocking the material during unrest or disabling the ICT technology during some the challenging time of social unrest were among the key reasons for its declines.
There are 17 countries where Internet is totally free. Iceland has topped the ranking in internet freedom. Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia has received higher ranking than in India. Japan and Philippines are two countries from Asia where Internet is not controlled.
Other countries in Asia like China, Pakistan has been ranked lower than India. In these two neighboring countries of India internet is controlled by Government.
US has received slight criticism because of the surveillance issue still managed to get 4th rank. Sanja Kelly Project director of Freedom House refrained from citicizing US heavily on subject of survellience. It is evident that Freedom House is a US based non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights and to maintain their freedom it is better not to criticize their own country.