US calls for Internet freedom amid India plan

Dec 08, 2011
An activist of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena protests outside the residence of Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi on December 7, 2011. India has asked internet companies like Facebook and Google to screen content that is uploaded on various sites, triggering a major uproar against the move.

The United States called for freedom of expression on the Internet after the India said it planned to find ways to ban offensive content before it is posted.

India vowed to pursue the restrictions after major such as and -- nearly all of them based in the United States -- said that they were unable to screen content before it goes online.

"We are concerned about any effort to curtail freedom of expression on the Internet," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters, while carefully avoiding any direct criticism of proposals in India.

Toner said that Secretary of State would speak at length about in an address Friday in The Hague.

"Secretary Clinton has called on the global community to protect freedoms of expression, association and assembly in the online world as we do in the regular world," Toner said. "We uphold those beliefs."

Indian Communications Minister Kapil Sibal insisted Tuesday that the world's largest democracy supported free speech but said websites such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo had "had images which could be an insult to Indians."

Sibal pointed to fake images of naked politicians and religious figures. News reports said he complained specifically about a site that targeted Sonia Gandhi, the president of his ruling Congress party.

Clinton has already delivered two major speeches on Internet freedom in which she has pushed for an end to restrictions around the world, warning that nations that suppress online activity will pay an economic cost.

The United States has sought warmer relations with India in recent years and is generally cautious about any statement that could cause friction.

Explore further: Facebook goes retro with 'Rooms' chat app

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

India to ban 'offensive' Internet material

Dec 06, 2011

India on Tuesday vowed to ban offensive material from the Internet after Facebook, Google and other major firms told the government they were unable to screen content before it was posted.

Clinton renews push for open Internet access

Feb 15, 2011

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton renews her push Tuesday for the free and open use of the Internet, which protesters from Egypt to Iran have used to demand political freedoms.

US in new push to break China Internet firewall

May 11, 2011

The United States plans to pump millions of dollars into new technology to break through Internet censorship overseas amid a heightened crackdown on dissent in China, officials have said.

Internet access a fundamental human right: OSCE

Jul 08, 2011

Access to the Internet should be seen as a fundamental human right and respected as much as freedom of expression, the transatlantic security body OSCE said in a report Friday.

Recommended for you

Facebook goes retro with 'Rooms' chat app

12 hours ago

Facebook on Thursday released an application that lets people create virtual "rooms" to chat about whatever they wish using any name they would like.

Some online shoppers pay more than others, study shows

14 hours ago

Internet users regularly receive all kinds of personalized content, from Google search results to product recommendations on Amazon. This is thanks to the complex algorithms that produce results based on users' profiles and ...

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

Oct 22, 2014

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

Oct 22, 2014

Google is introducing an application designed to make it easier for its Gmail users to find and manage important information that can often become buried in their inboxes.

User comments : 0