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Freedom Fast: Save Your Voice Continues Protest for Internet Freedom

May 11, 2012

Freedom Fast Hunger Strike And Sit in at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, India.

via newzfirst

NEW DELHI – Two anti- web censorship activists ended their 7-day fast Wednesday [May 9th, 2012]  at a New Delhi hospital on the advice of doctors over deteriorating health.

Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, whose case was featured on ArtLeaks earlier this year,  and activist-journalist Alok Dixit of the ‘Save Your Voice’ campaign were fasting at Jantar Mantar since May 2 to press for the annulment of IT Rules 2011. […]

The controversial IT Rules 2011 makes intermediary websites liable for any content published on them. Domain would be legally bound to ban a website or blog within 36 hours of receiving complaints from any user or authority.

“No notice will be served, no hearing will take place and no judicial orders need to be issued to do so,” Dixit said. “The onus to prove innocence would lie on the owners of the websites in a court. This is ridiculous.”

News websites would thus be held responsible for readers’ comments, he added.

He said the government was banning websites and deleting Facebook accounts without any notice or warning “Internet gave us the liberty to raise our voices against various issues. But it is no more a free voice.”

While international domain providers like Google and Yahoo are fighting against the Rules, Indian domain providers have started implementing it fearing the legal consequences, Dixit said. Mumbai Police banned cartoonist Trivedi’s website cartoonagainstcorruption.com some months ago on the basis of complaints by a Congress party leader.

“We have just ended the hunger protest, but not the struggle,” Dixit said. “We will fight this injustice against freedom of speech.”

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via Save Your Voice

Imagine a situation when our Facebook posts are being censored or each of our Skype conversations is being overheard. Suppose that our tweets or blogs, the private photographs and documents that we store and other such online activities are being by monitored by someone else other than us. Does it seem very implausible for something like this to happen? Well, it surely will happen if the IT Act 2011 is not annulled!

On 11th April 2011, the [Indian] Government notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 prescribing various guiding principles to be observed by all internet related companies. These rules will:
 1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;
 2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;
 3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet access in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in certain cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers)

 In addition, mandatory data retention would force the Internet Service Provider to create vast and expensive new databases of sensitive information about an individual. That information would then be available to the government, in secret and without any court oversight.
Sh. P. Rajeev, Honorable Member of the Rajya sabha has moved an ANNULMENT MOTION  to get these rules abolished and the motion has been admitted and is expected to come up in this budget session. The Bangalore MP Rajeev Chandrashekar has spoken in Parliament in support. It’s also interesting to note that  a professor of chemistry of the Jadavpur University was arrested recently  along with his neighbour for allegedly posting a cartoon on a popular social networking site and forwarding emails, cases were booked under the IT ACT as well.
The Government notified this on April 13, 2011 the Information Technology (Intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011 prescribing guidelines to be observed by the intermediaries. The rules were issued in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (zg) of subsection (2) of section 87 read with sub-section (2) of section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (Act 21 of 2000). The provisions of the new rules are unconstitutional as they affect the right to freedom of speech and expression as well as right to privacy of citizens, are arbitrary being violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution of India and are ultra vires of the parent act.

 

Please sign this petition to “SAVE YOUR VOICE”. Government wants to use the threat of ” national security” or “public morality” to undermine our digital rights. Tell your lawmakers that we won’t stand for censorship, monitoring or dangerous, unsupervised information sharing in this law or any law like it.

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via Cartoonist Rights Network International

May 9, 2012, Burke, Virginia – Today Dr. Robert Russell, the Executive Director of the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI), announced the winners of the 2012 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award as decided by a unanimous vote of the CRNI Board of Directors.  The winners are Ali Ferzat, from Syria, and Aseem Trivedi, from India.  CRNI, the only international organization exclusively devoted to defending the human rights of cartoonists imperiled because of their work, will hold the award ceremony during the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC) on September 15.  The ceremony is currently scheduled to take place at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington, DC. […]

Aseem Trivedi, a young cartoonist from India, like Ali Ferzat, made two courageous decisions.  First, in an atmosphere of increasing censorship and repression in the world’s largest democracy, Aseem launched the Cartoons Against Corruption website.  In an effort to mobilize his fellow citizens against India’s pervasive political corruption, Aseem filled this site with his anti-corruption cartoons.  After being charged with treason and insulting national symbols, Aseem made his second courageous act.  Despite the charges and threats of additional charges, he has taken a leadership role in India’s emerging free speech movement.  Joining forces with other free speech activists, Aseem has launched an online freedom of expression campaign called Save Your Voice: A Movement Against Web Censorship.

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