India
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India A stable democracy with a strong tradition of press freedom, India nevertheless continues its regime of Internet filtering. However, India’s selective censorship of blogs and other content, often under the guise of security, has also been met with significant opposition. RESULTS AT A GLANCE Filtering No Evidence of Filtering Suspected Filtering Selective Filtering Substantial Filtering Pervasive Filtering Political • Social • Conflict and security • Internet tools • OTHER FACTORS Low Medium High Not Applicable Transparency • Consistency • 300 India Background With a population of over one billion, India is the world’s second most populous nation. The Indian government, a constitutional republic and representative democracy , generally respects the right to free speech and allows a wide array of political, social, and economic beliefs to be expressed. However, on targeted political and social conflicts, the government censors media and online discussion, particularly in areas of social unrest. In conflicts between castes and religious groups, and in the ongoing dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, the state routinely censors material it believes could incite violence. Threats to journalists and bloggers come from political, religious, or ethnic nationalist groups. However, journalists are rarely detained as a means of censoring the press, and when they are held they are often quickly released. Internet in India Internet use in India reveals a great imbalance between urban and rural regions, although the gap has been diminishing during the past few years. Nearly 25 percent of India’s population lives in cities (266 million), and 20 percent (52 million) of those are active Internet users (meaning they have used the Internet at least once in the past month).1 By contrast, only 4.18 million among the rural population are active users; 54 percent of these rural users access the Internet through Internet cafés more than ten kilometers away from their villages. Seventy-eight percent of nonusers KEY INDICATORS GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2005 international dollars) 2,970 Life expectancy at birth, total (years) 64 Literacy rate, adult total (percent of people age 15+) nd Human Development Index (out of 169) 119 Rule of Law (out of 5) 2.5 Voice and Accountability (out of 5) 3.0 Democracy Index (out of 167) 40 (Flawed democracy) Digital Opportunity Index (out of 181) 124 Internet penetration rate (percentage of population) 5.1 Source by indicator: World Bank 2009, World Bank 2008a, World Bank 2008b, UNDP 2010, World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators 2009, Economist Intelligence Unit 2010, ITU 2007, ITU 2009. nd, no data. See Introduction to the Country Profiles, pp. 222–223. ONI Country Profile 301 indicate that they are not aware of the Internet.2 Language is another obstacle to using the Internet. Although there are 22 primary regional languages in India, most online content is in English, a language only 11 percent of the population speaks.3 With approximately 61 million Internet users, India has an overall Internet penetration rate of 5.1 percent. However, its Internet subscription rate is low, at only 1.3 percent.4 Most Indians who access the Internet do so from Internet cafés. Home and work connections and school access points are less popular. Most Internet users in the country are male, middle-class, and young.5 Almost half of the country’s users are online at least four to six times per week.6 As of December 2009, approximately 370 Internet service providers (ISPs) were licensed to operate in the country.7 According to an official Telecom Regulatory Authority of India report, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) were the market leaders, holding 57.84 percent and 13.81 percent of the market share respectively in June 2010.8 In the mid-1980s, two state-owned corporations were formed to provide limited telecom services: Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) for international long distance and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) for Mumbai and Delhi. In 1995, VSNL became the first to provide Internet services to the country. In April 2002, the government authorized ISPs to offer Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services.9 In January 2007, the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) announced that it would install filtering mechanisms at India’s international gateways. The head of the Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) said that these new “landing stations” would be able to block both specific Web sites at the subdomain level and unauthorized VoIP telephone systems.10 Legal and Regulatory Frameworks India guarantees freedom of speech...