After discovering the existence of anti-Shivaji forums on Google’s Orkut, some authorities in India are attempting to ban access to Orkut in order to prevent users from viewing any future content that may insult their warrior king.
(Times of India) The Bombay high court on Thursday asked the state government to file a reply to a public interest litigation seeking a ban on Orkut. [...]
In the present petition, Thane resident Subodh Balsaraf claimed that the language used against the warrior king was “vulgar and defamatory and showed disrespect to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj”.
With over a billion people, India is arguably the world’s largest democracy. Simply banning an entire site because of a differing opinion would make the nation web 2.0 unfriendly and would encourage businesses to relocate elsewhere.
Blocking Orkut because of a few rude remarks would hurt the millions of users who actually use the service for more noble reasons, inspiring hackers to create ways around the block and moving India a “step away” from being an open society.
With the internet, one must take the bad along with the good (as that is what freedom of expression is all about) and hopefully India’s government will realize this lest they join the ranks of their Chinese neighbors where freedom of expression is suppressed.