Indian gov’t cracks down on Internet after rumors

Indian gov’t cracks down on Internet after rumors

NEW DELHI - Reuters

India pressed social media websites including Facebook and Twitter on Aug. 21 to remove “inflammatory” content it said helped spread rumors that sparked an exodus of migrants from some Indian cities last week.

The government said in a statement it had already blocked access to 245 web pages it said contained doctored videos and images, and the telecommunications secretary, R Chandrashekhar, threatened legal action against the websites if they did not fully comply with the requests to take down the offending pages. Chandrashekhar told CNN-IBN television that Google and Facebook had largely complied with the government’s requests while the response from Twitter had been “extremely poor.”

Thousands escape
Thousands of students and workers from India’s northeast fled Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities last week fearing retaliation for violence against Muslims in the remote tea-growing state of Assam after threatening mobile phone text messages and website images sowed panic.

Clashes between indigenous people in Assam and Muslim settlers from neighboring Bangladesh have killed nearly 80 people and displaced some 300,000 since July. India has not released details of the blocked pages but said in a statement that “international social networking sites” had indicated that much of the content had been uploaded from neighbouring Pakistan, a long-time foe with which it has fought three wars.