Save Your Voice: Wish Kapil Sibal a ‘Happy Fools’ Day!’
In an annual report on cyber-censorhip, freedom of information group Reporters without Borders have placed India ‘under surveillance’ for its increased efforts to monitor internet activity.
The report said that India is one of a number of countries trying to pressure private internet companies to engage in surveillance and censorship. Referring to Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal’s calls for social media companies to pre-moderate material that might offend religious groups, the report said:
“The authorities there are trying to persuade them to provide a preview of content so that anything ‘shocking’ or liable to provoke sectarian strife can be eliminated.”
The report attributes stepped up internet surveillance in India down to national security policy and increased efforts to monitor the Internet after the 2008 bombings in Mumbai.
via cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, Save Your Voice co-founder, on whose case of censorship ArtLeaks reported earlier this year:
“Save YourVoice has begun a campaign to wish Kapil Sibal a ‘Happy Fools’ Day!’ on this April, 1, 2012. We as a team feel that our Minister of Communications and Information Technology is precisely the right person in India to wish a ‘Happy Fools’ Day’ this year. We as a team will visit different places in New Delhi with a dummy of Mr. Kapil Sibal to gather your greetings. We began our campaign at the India Gate on March 18th and our Kapil Sibal received many heartfelt wishes from the crowd there.
We strongly believe that Kapil Sibal truly represents all the fools across India today – by ordering internet companies to censor their content. Who else could give such an order? Our minister has earned his nick-name throughout the world. His foolish statements have degraded India’s image in the eyes of international community. Mr. Sibal is a symbol of antiquated foolishness in the current context in India.
How to participate in our campaign :
Option 1- A dummy Sibal will be visiting different parts of New Delhi up to April 1st. Please take a look at the posted schedule of stops and come wish Mr. Sibal a ‘HappyFools’ Day!’
Option 2- If you are not able to reach us in New Delhi, you may also send him your direct wishes at this address:
Mr. Kapil Sibal
Department of Information Technology Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Option 3- Visit our blog www.saveyourvoice.in and leave your comment. We’ll send your comments to Mr. Sibal directly.
Join our movement on Facebook.”
via India RealTime
The ultimate goal of his April Fools’ Day campaign is to rally public support in defense of free speech on the Web: “Our campaign is a voice for those who are victims of this government-led propaganda.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Communications and IT declined to comment on Mr. Trivedi’s campaign. He added that Mr. Sibal was unavailable and “extremely preoccupied” with Delhi’s upcoming local elections.
He reiterated his ministry’s position saying that they have “no intention to censor the Internet,” explaining their aim is only to ensure that “content deemed objectionable under law is screened.”
Rashid Alvi, a spokesman of the ruling Congress party, told India Real Time that he does “not wish to comment on a campaign or an organization that is not known to anybody.”
Although Save Your Voice is relatively small, it is gaining popularity on social media.
“Best wishes to Kapil Sibal on April Fools’ Day. You are truly ‘superman’ for the foolish,” a user commented in Hindi on the non-profit’s website.
“Great initiative. Now Mamata Banerjee should pester PM to declare April Fools’ Day as a national holiday,” another user commented. West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Banerjee has reportedly written to the Prime Minister four times demanding that birth anniversaries of famed Bengalis be declared national holidays.