The web censorship debate has heated up with the Indian courts asking the Internet companies to monitor the content on their sites. Warning to impose China-like restrictions also triggered a debate nationwide. The Indian government has also been striving hard to convince the Internet companies to set up a monitoring mechanism. Google, however, has made it clear that it is impossible for the company to monitor all content on its website. Google is among the 21 companies which have been summoned by a Delhi court on March 13 for allegedly hosting offensive content. Another hearing on the pleas filed by the companies is slated to be held on February 2.
"I'm hoping there will be a balanced debate around it and eventually the right thing would happen," Google's chief business officer Nikesh Arora said. "We cannot censor the Web. We cannot censor the ability of people to express themselves around the world. You are asking not just censor the Web in India, you are asking to censor the entire world wide web. The Web has no borders. I think the idea of censoring everything and pre- clearing everything is going to fundamentally, sort of, taint the growth of the Indian economy in India and vis-a-vis the world.”
During the previous hearing, Google and Facebook had said that there was no way for them to monitor content on their sites. Google also pointed out that their Indian subsidiary, Google India, cannot be held accountable for the activities of the parent company. The case of alleged offensive online content came to the limelight after a Delhi resident Vinay Rai filed a petition, saying that the Internet sites contained obscene depictions of Hindu deities, Prophet Mohammed and Jesus Chris. It's notable that the companies such as Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube have also come under the government scanner.
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