Government uses lawsuits to curb porn websites

Government uses lawsuits to curb porn websites

By KANISHKA SINGH | NEW DELHI | 26 December, 2015
The government has started cracking down on pornographic websites that carry child porn with lawsuits after a failed ban on URLs of 857 websites earlier this year. Experts say this will not bear fruits as it impossible to completely ban access to porn websites.
“The huge uproar from the public and media against the initial ban resulted in its failure but we are clear that no website will be allowed to carry child pornography. Pornography creates stereotypes and it becomes the basis behind unequal treatment of women in society. It was surprising that no woman came forward in support of the porn ban that was implemented on 2 August 2015,” Ketan Shah, legal advisor in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, told The Sunday Guardian.
“Since we cannot ban all porn websites, we are working tirelessly to stop child pornography contents from reaching Indians. We have filed lawsuits against websites like Pornhub, Youporn, Xvideos, Spankwire and more. Trying them in our courts is out of our jurisdiction; we are trying to stop any website that carries or has carried such content in the past,” Shah said.
“I am happy that the Narendra Modi government is acting against online pornography considering the Supreme Court’s observations on the same this year. The ban was aimed at protecting the women and children of this country. But that couldn’t materialise. I feel that watching pornography incites violence against women. It instigates men to commit sex crimes,” Kamlesh Vaswani, the lawyer behind the porn ban in August, said. There are over 40 million websites and it isn’t possible to completely ban access to porn websites unless the government enforces a kind of insulated internet environment like the one in China. “There are over 40 million porn websites at present. You close one down and another pops up within minutes. There is no stopping it. However, we can selectively, by engaging the people who run these websites, reduce some kind of content for at least India. Since they are away from legal jurisdictions of our agencies, they are not willing to cooperate. Therefore, we have to resort to lawsuits. A number of cases have been filed against such websites. I don’t think there can be a blanket ban on such things,” an official from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said. Webmasters, on the other hand, are least bothered about the Indian government’s steps, arguing that nothing is forced on a user. Every porn viewer “chooses to watch it”, Mike Kala, webmaster in the Pornhub network, told this newspaper. “We are not bothered about any kind of ban or legal suit. Where we run our company, pornography is legal. We as a matter of principle do not promote child pornography. Now if they want to ban porn, I can say with authority that it is not possible. One of the largest sections of viewers to our networks is from India. Even during the time the ban was imposed, people found ways to access the websites through proxy servers. The Indian government needs to focus on the betterment of the country by development. Taking away civil liberties is not going to earn them any brownie points with the public. You cannot stop anyone from viewing any kind of content on the web. It is not containable. They have to stop,” Kala said.
Due to the change in ways content is added to porn websites, it is even more difficult to monitor what kind of content is being submitted. “We have moved on from in-house produced content to user submitted content. We get millions of submissions in a month. How can you possibly see what is what? You have to use your discretion. That is the only way,” Kala added.
 

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