Saturday, July 21, 2012

BSNL - Illegal Blockade of MediaCrooks


Connecting India’! That’s the tag-line of the government telecommunication company called Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Lately, it seems to do a lot more than connecting India. It also seems to secretly and illegally disconnect India. From the evening of July 17 I have been receiving messages, even complaints, from regular readers of this blog that they haven’t been able to access MediaCrooks. It was initially surprising since I was able to access it and I had posted a fresh article early the next day on July 19. I thought it must be some temporary problems with the connection or the service providers of those readers. 
Then the messages kept growing and on checking I found that all of these readers were using internet services provided by BSNL. On the evening of July 18 I put out the following message through a tweet stating options readers could use to access the MediaCrooks articles: (Please click and open tweet images on a separate tab and enlarge to read)

I chose not to assume BSNL had blocked MediaCrooks or that there was a Central govt order of any kind to ban this site since it was accessible to users through other Internet service providers in India. I have been able to access the site, review comments and post articles (including this one) without any problems. But it does appear that BSNL has blocked access to the site. I wish to state in no uncertain terms to BSNL or any govt authority that this site does not contain any content that breaks any law of the land, does not contain any pornographic material, it’s not a commentary on religion that can disturb peace and harmony or result in riots, it is not even political in nature.

The objective of the site is to critique and expose the Indian mainstream media. In that, it surely does include politics, politicians and other people and entities in the context of media and their reporting and coverage of issues. Does this site offend certain sections of people and entities? Yes, it probably does and delights in the consequence of its articles! It delights in criticising the media when they act in an indiscriminate manner, when they lie, when they distort facts. It offends media personalities for their glaring blunders and deliberate manipulation of facts. MediaCrooks delights in criticising politicians when they utter nonsense or appear to support injustice. This will continue and it will not stop.

I have not received any notification or information of any kind on whether BSNL has blocked the site and, if so, for what reason. Now that BSNL users have not been able to access the site for over 3 days it would be fair to assume that some govt official must have passed on a clandestine, unwritten and illegal order to BSNL to block the site. If the govt has done so and if BSNL has obliged them then both are in serious violation of the law and my rights to publish my views. I also presume there has been no advice to Google, which hosts this site, on any objections to the content on this site else I am sure I would have heard from them. Thus it seems quite obvious and fair to assume the illegal blockage by BSNL has been instigated by some govt quarters. They were probably unhappy over criticism of some official, minister or politician precious to the govt.

On July 20 I wrote the following email (cvo@bsnl.co.in) to BSNL requesting an explanation of this blockage. I await a response:

I publish a site titled www.mediacrooks.com. Since the evening of July 18, 2012 I have been receiving complaints from readers through Twitter and by Email that those who were accessing the site through the Internet services of BSNL have not been able to access my site. I would request you to note the following points:

1. The complaints from readers through various sources have raised suspicion that BSNL has BLOCKED access to my site as a Censorship act and measure.
2. Please confirm if the blocking of my site is true and correct. In case access to my site has been blocked I have to state that I have no intimation from any government sources or your own organisation for the same. I wish to add that blocking access to my site is illegal and breaches the fundamental right of free speech and access to such content.
3. My site is essentially a critique of issues in the Mainstream Media and does not in any way break any law whatsoever.

I would request you to restore access to my website for users of BSNL's Internet service. In case you still continue to block access to the site as suspected by many readers please let me know on what grounds and for what reasons such access is blocked. A screenshot of complaints that were noticed on Twitter is also attached for your reference. This is being written without any prejudice to my legal rights.

While I wait for a response from BSNL I wish to assure readers that they can access content of MediaCrooks through other options in my tweet mentioned earlier. I also wish to state that if BSNL has indeed carried out the blockage then we must estimate what a dangerous tool it is in the hands of the govt and politicians. This is a good reason why govt must not be in control of any business, especially not a communication organisation. It is clearly a grave danger in a democracy. This is not an issue relating to a single blog site. This does bear a serious threat to every blogger and writer. Am I going to stop writing? Fat chance! I must mention though, that if I do not receive a satisfactory response from BSNL to my mail the issue won’t rest. As govt officials, politicians, media and ministers are so fond of quoting, I will use the same line that they do: “The issue will reach its logical conclusion and the law will take its own course”. In the meantime, I have a modest suggestion for BSNL. “Change your tag line, Change it to Dis-Connecting India”! 
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24 comments:

  1. Does BSNL even know how to block a Website or a Blog? I assume, they don't. Even if this is some kind of sinister plan on the part of Govt to block your views, do not worry we can always find new ways to read your awesome blog. Please continue to do what you do best i.e. Ripping Apart these two faced jokers they call themselves 'Journalists'. Thank You.

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  2. I started reading this blog around last october, and have become an opium addict to it due to its articulation, bringing out the truth to the fore, and opening the eyes of the common man like me to the sinister govnt we are living through. And reading that it has been blocked by BSNL feels like I am living through a blockbuster movie. The media brokers have been brutally exposed by this site, and they are running helter-skelter to block this page. Rather than succeding in their plans, more ignominy is due in their lives, as truth cant be suppressed, not now. I am happy that with such daringly stupid actions, govn is hastening its demise. And to write this on a day when Acharya balakrishna is denied bail but Imam cant be arrested boils our blood. We are indebted to mediacrooks for his gigantic service to the nation by educating people like us. We hope he will continue to do so the same, through this very blog, delighting as usual in exposing the sickening media pimps.

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  3. One can only say "ko Nahin Janat hai KAPI sankat mochan naam tiharoe". I am sure this being done at behest of GoI, and cowards at BSNL will never reply to your letter.

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  4. Dear Ravi,

    It is so SAD to hear that BSNL is blocking your site and many readers are facing difficulties in expressing their view.

    As you said “It is clearly a grave danger in a democracy.” No one has right to halt our freedom of speech. That is the same reason our great freedom fighters has followed the route of martyrdom. They have sacrificed their life so we can enjoy and live life with freedom. It also means that we can raise our voice as and when required if there are any danger or threat against our nation.

    If government thinks that “they can catch and hold of the Air” then they are living in a great illusion. There is thousand and one way to express our view/publish material using social media but, this is not our point/concern right now. They must respect freedom of speech and abide by law. This childish act brings only Shame and nothing else for our democratic nation. It is also insulting those who have scarified their lives to protect sovereignty of the great nation.

    I would like to take this opportunity to kindly request BSNL to unblock www.mediacrooks.com with immediate effect. I am sure, within BSNL management ladder, there are many intellectuals left who will understand our concern to take necessary action against illegal blockade.

    Best regards

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  5. MTNL buys bandwidth from Airtel. So sites blocked by Airtel are by default blocked on MTNL. I hope this is not the case with BSNL. If BSNL also purchases bandwidth from some other ISP, it represents a ticking bomb.
    Also I do not agree on giving control of communication services completely to private firms. If BSNL were a private firm they would be more liberal and fearless in blocking many more sites.

    I feel as a BSNL consumer, people should complain about it to the government authorities and take legal action too. I have read an article about the same where customers can ask for compensation for the same if the ISP is at fault.

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  6. Ravinar I would make a suggestion.File a RTI complaint asking whether this site is blocked?Why is this site blocked?request copy of written order given?
    You will get a prompt reply or your site will unblocked in no time.

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  7. A desperate government uses every means, especially illegal means, to stay in power. The govt. will not mind denigrating the nation and its' laws so long as it stays in power; this is what it has come to.

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  8. I was also facing same issue (not able to browse as it was blocked).
    Just now I check and it has started working. I use Sify which buys bandwidth from BSNL (I hope).

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  9. This is so unfortunate if it's blocked!!
    We can raise a voice if this the case. And as per my understanding there is definite chance that BSNL could have blocked it.
    Let us know in case you need any kind of support from us as this definitely not an illicit to rip apart MSMs.

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  10. r u seriously expecting some reply from BSNL guys?? Most of them, even at top level have no hella idea of an email-id. btw why u tagged that emergency era b**ch Ambika Soni. Isn't Zero Sibal the incharge of this ??

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  11. WoW!!! Ravi this action by them confirmed that they are continously listening to you and we are not shouting to deaf ears. But instead of a positive feedback their response was pretty predective.
    Keep up the good work.
    You are catching a bull by its horns so some damage is expected.
    Kudos to u sir.

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  12. Also i would say is complain all this to Anonymous. If u remember last time they hacked relaince ISP. Now BSNL is on its way.

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  13. I find it weird that a news report about a Forbes survey saying that Sonia gandhi is the 4th richest politician in the world with net worth anywhere between $2 billion-$19 billion has not been addressed either by the media or the Opposition. Where is her source of funds? Why is no one talking about this in the media?

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  14. Will be happy to import & post all of your articles on www.JitegaBharat.com.

    Please create an account in the name of "MediaCrooks" and send us an e-mail at JitegaBharat at gmail dot com authorizing the imports & we can automate that process for parallel posting. Will be happy to post a link to the original article at the bottom of each blog article.

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  15. With your approval on tweeter, the automatic import of RSS feed of your blog articles has begun at http://www.jitegabharat.com/forumdisplay.php?88-Media-Watch

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  16. what we can expect from Govt. organisation; they have to toe the party line to keep their seat.

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  17. Seems that Sibbal's censorship internet censorship is taking effect... Time to Cry Havoc!!!

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  18. Is the blockage of your blog still on on bsnl. I still cannot access it. But I can on my smart phone non bsnl

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  19. Twitter went down mysteriously.. is it the server or some congress server?

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  20. Hi Ravinar,

    May be this might help in worst case for the users who really want to access the site despite the GOI crooked behavior
    http://techblogger.com/witopia-premium-vpn-service-review-for-windows-and-mac/

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  21. True. Even I experienced this problem. I was able to open and read other blog sites, except 'Media crooks'

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  22. I am able to access your blog now through 'BSNL'.... Something has changed for sure....
    Not sure if its the attitude of this Organization or the Government....

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  23. No worry now I have a great way to open blocked site at school for those who don't know about IP address and proxies now you just need to click one time and you can open blocked site at school very easily
    Unblock All Sites

    ReplyDelete

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