Is India's government responsible for blocking all these porn sites?

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

If the internet is for porn and there's suddenly no porn on the internet, does the internet even exist? That's the existential question many Indian people are grappling with this weekend.

Citizens of the South Asian country took to the India subreddit on Saturday to voice their concerns that they had been blocked from viewing porn sites. (h/t Legally India) The sites would either come up as blank pages or contain error messages like "Directory doesn't exist," commenters said.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

One particularly concerning message reads: "Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India." This has led many to wonder whether the "porn ban," as Indian Twitter users have dubbed it, is actually an act of censorship by the Narendra Modi-led government.

State-owned internet service providers like MTNL and BSNL have restricted many of these porn sites, The Times of India reports. But Spectranet, Asianet, and other privately owned ISPs have blocked access, as well.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

The Times also notes that porn's legality arose in the Supreme Court of India last month. Weighing in on a petition asking to block porn sites, Chief Justice H. L. Dattu said:

It is an issue for the government to deal with. Can we pass an interim order directing blocking of all adult websites? And let us keep in mind the possible contention of a person who could ask what crime have I committed by browsing adult websites in private within the four walls of my house. Could he not argue about his right to freedom to do something within the four walls of his house without violating any law?


It is still unclear why access to porn sites is being restricted and whether the Indian government is involved. The Hindustan Times say that they have contacted the Department of Telecommunications for an official response but have yet to hear back.

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