The RSS has alleged that the UPA government is out to gag people’s free opinion on the net, specially those regarding Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul, through requests to sites like Google to remove content and by seeking users’ data and account details. “The government of India is seeking to
gag the voice of the public, expressed most freely on the net. It has sent 96 requests to the Google site alone from June to December 2011 fo removal of content,” RSS mouthpiece Organiser said in the editorial of its latest edition.
It maintained that according to Google, there has been a 49 % rise in the number of requests for removing the contents in India, the highest in the world.
“It may be recalled that HRD minister Kapil Sibal had growled in exaggerated fury over a cartoon regarding the Prime Minister. The UPA government is being lampooned, criticised and chided by angry citizens,” the editorial said, adding that this is the role of the media but since it has failed to do so the people have chipped in.
Organiser alleged that as per newspaper reports the government investigative agencies are also engaged in finding the physical location and identity of several IP addresses from the US, which have posted material not “palatable to the Gandhi family”, particularly Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul.
Citing Google, the editorial said most requests for removal are regarding political comments.
“Google received 2,207 requests for user data and 3,427 requests regarding users and accounts between July and December 2011. It complied with 66 per cent of the requests,” the editorial said, adding that Pakistan has made only two such requests. Organiser has further alleged that India is asking other countries- even the ones with which it has Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty- to provide more than legal information about netizens who make such comments.
“It wants the postal address, even the billing and payment details, which could fix the person directly,” it said.
Indicating that advertisements worth crores could be responsible for the media not being critical enough of the government, it said, “This (advertisements) it uses as a leverage for blocking anti-government news, information and opinion.”
The article cited the way “Anna Team was stifled” over the debate on UPA’s presidential nominee.
“The net is full of analysis and reports by experts and the intelligent common man who has assessed the qualities of Pranab Mukerjee, and the charges of his ommissions and commissions. Or, for that matter the dead silence on matters relating to Sonia Gandhi,” the editorial said.
The RSS mouthpiece alleged that Gandhi made a request for privacy about her illness, the media “obeyed like a lap dog”. It further states that in India the public and private have merged beyond demarcation with regard to the Gandhis.
Charging the Congress with being “proactive in press censorship” and “cultivating” journalists, the article said, “To those who oppose them, the Congress has shown its true face, repression and threats. The Google report is just an indicator of the deeper malaise of censorship in India.”
Interestingly, Organiser refers to the rejection of its own accreditation to the Press Information Bureau as another case of gagging the “free and critical voice” by the government.