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2021: Jan-March

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Offsite Article: Authoritarianism...

Link Here12th March 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
India's New Internet Rules Are a Step Toward Digital Authoritarianism. Here's What They Will Mean

See article from



'Go fund yourself'...

Indian Netflix rolls back its censorship of a crude joke in South Park

Link Here1st March 2021
Full story: Netflix Censorship...Streaming TV to a variety of censorship regimes
An episode of the animated comedy series South Park was previously censored on Netflix in India (and nowhere else). A crude drawing of male genitalia and breasts was blurred out from a scene in Go Fund Yourself , the first episode of the show's eighteenth season.

Netflix removed the censorship after MediaNama asked the company about it. As is often the case with internet companies, when they are embarrassed by caught with their hands in the censorship cookie jar, they respond by claiming it was all some sort of a ghastly mistake.

And again in this case, Netflix claimed it was an incorrect version and replaced it with the uncensored version.

Interestingly the censorship incident has revealed that it may be possible to work around local censorship by selecting a different interface language. It was reported that the blurring wasn't present for users in India that selected French language.

The censored episode lampoons the Washington Redskins, an American football team that recently changed its name to Washington Football Team following renewed outrage over its name, which was criticized for using an offensive slur referring to Native Americans. In one scene from the episode, which was aired in 2014, a character responds to calls to change the team's logo by simply adding a drawing of male genitalia and breasts to the imagery.



Searching for repression...

Police from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh set up a team to snoop on people's porn searches

Link Here15th February 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
Police from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh announced the creation of a team to snoop on people's internet searches for pornographic material. The force has hired a company to surveille searches and keep data of the people who search for porn content.

In India, pornography is banned by the government, but the initial stages of the lockdown last year saw a 95% rise in viewership . The U.P. police's internet search tracking plan is being piloted in six of the state's districts. The monitoring will now be carried out across the state, which currently has about 11.6 million internet users.

The U.P. police has outsourced its monitoring of porn searches to the company Oomuph. If Oomuph spots an internet user consuming pornography, the police's analytics team will receive information on the user and search. Porn searches on the internet will also now yield an awareness message that searchers are being tracked by the police..



App Battleground...

India has decided to make temporary bans on PUBG, TikTok and many other Chinese apps over security concerns

Link Here30th January 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
In the last couple of days, a report emerged that the Government of India is permanently banning 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok permanently from June 2021. TikTok, which was originally temporarily banned in June 2020, has decided to wind up its business in India.

The permanent ban also has repercussions for PUBG Mobile India.  PUBG Mobile India is now coming to terms that the relaunch which was planned for March 2021 might never happen.

In June and September, when 59 and 118 Chinese apps including PUBG Mobile India were banned, the Government of India stated in the order that the apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order. The apps gave a written response to the Government of India. However, it has now emerged according to reports that the government is not satisfied with the response and explanation that were given by these companies. Hence the ban for these 59 apps is permanent now.



Circus of Life...

Film banned in Pakistan for blasphemy is nominated for an Oscar

Link Here30th January 2021
Full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion
Zindagi Tamasha (Circus of Life) is a 2019 Pakistan drama by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat.
Starring Arif Hassan, Ali Kureshi and Samiya Mumtaz. IMDb

A devout Muslim who writes composes, and even records hymns praising the Prophet, Muhammad Rahat Khawaja is a respected elderly man who works in real estate and takes care of his bedridden wife. One day, he attends the wedding of a friend's son, where he inadvertently shows off a dance in front of his friends and family. His dance gets recorded and then uploaded to all social media platforms, which then also gets broadcasted on television. And the chaos begins to ensue in his quiet life.

The film was banned in January 2020 over fears of blasphemy but the ban was overruled in July 2020 by Pakistan's Senate Committee for Human Rights. The film was banned after workers of the hardline Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) vowed to hold a countrywide protest against its screening.

The film has now gained further prominence in early 2021 after it was nominated for the Best International Feature Oscar.



Updated: Prime beef...

Amazon Prime's Tandav offends religious sensibilities in India

Link Here21st January 2021
A new Amazon Prime series, Tandav ,  has resulted in calls for censorship in India.  Several politicians have complained about scenes that offended religious sensitivities.

Tandav is an Indian political drama along the lines of the Netflix series House of Cards . The main character of the series is a power-hungry politician who will do anything to become India's prime minister.

MP Manoj Kotak, a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), wrote on Twitter that he had contacted the Ministry of Information requesting it to ban the controversial web series. According to Kotak, the show seemed to be deliberately mocking Hindu gods.

Ram Kadam, another BJP member, went to the police in Mumbai to file a complaint, accusing Amazon of trying to outrage religious sentiments and publishing material that can cause harm.

A police investigation has already been launched in the state of Uttar Pradesh against Amazon's chief of Indian Prime Aparna Purohit and the show's director Zafar.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has announced that it would contact Amazon about the show.


Update: Tandav censored

21st January 2021. See article from

One scene from Tandav has particularly caught the attention of a few people, which shows actor Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub playing the role of (a modern day) Lord Shiva in a college play. Netizens claimed that it hurts religious sentiments. Another contentious scene involves characters played by Anuup Sonii and Sandhya Mridul, and the two talk about castes.

Tandav film makers have now agreed to censor out the material that offended the easily offended.



Blasphemy against US free speech...

Pakistan is demanding that a supposedly blasphemous US website be shut down

Link Here19th January 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Pakistan is threatening to prosecute non-Pakistanis in foreign countries for breaking its blasphemy laws online.

The decision seems to be focused on Ahmadis, an Islamic offshoot whose beliefs are considered blasphemous in Pakistan. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) sent a legal notice to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA demanding that it shuts down its website,, or get charged with blasphemy, a crime that carries a ten-year prison sentence.

The website is run by a US-based organization. So the legal notice is the government's way of saying that the Pakistan Blasphemy Laws can apply to non-Pakistanis and beyond the Pakistan territory.

On January 14, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted that it was very concerning to see Pakistan using attempts to apply its controversial cybercrime laws to repress Americans' freedoms of speech and worship well outside of Pakistan's own borders.

It is unlikely that the US will allow any such interference in US free speech but it Pakistan could arrest offending AMericans  if they travel to Pakistan or any other country friendly with Pakistan. And of course relatives of offending Americans who live in Pakistan could be persecuted.



Dangerous jokes...

Indian stand-up comedian arrested for supposedly hurting religious sentiments

Link Here9th January 2021
A comedian has been charged by the Indian authorities for supposedly hurting religious sentiments after a group of right-wing Hindus crashed his show and confronted him over jokes he allegedly made about Hindu deities.

Munawar Faruqui, a young stand-up comedian from Gujarat, was arrested by the police along with four other people on Friday after several members of a fringe group, associated with a local politician from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP ), ambushed him after the show.

But later, amid a growing outcry over the comedian's treatment, police said in a statement that there was no video evidence to prove Faruqui made remarks either insulting Hindu deities. Nonetheless, police continue to hold Faruqui while they investigate the allegations.



Nabab LLB...

A film is banned in Bangladesh for making the police look bad

Link Here7th January 2021
Full story: Banned Films in Bangladesh...Rana Plaza banned for releasing dire factory conditions
Nabab LLB is a 2020 Bangladesh thriller by Ananyo Mamun
Starring Shakib Khan,Mahiya Mahi,Orchita Sporshia IMDb

On 25 December 2020, film director Anonno Mamun and actor Shaheen Mridha have been charged with making a film with pornographic content . Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested the artists the day before due to a case filed against them under the Pornography Control Act for allegedly insulting the police in the film Nabab LLB .

The film Nabab LLB was released on 16 December 2020 and is set in a fictional courtroom, treating about rape and the treatment of victims.

According to Al Jazeera , the report released by Dhaka Metropolitan Police points to making and acting in a film containing such offensive and obscene dialogue as a reason for the artists' arrest. The report also highlights that the police was poorly represented in the film and that the representation of the police officer using offensive gestures and obscene language during the fictional interrogation in the film could cause negative perceptions about policing among public.

There is a petition calling on the Dhaka Metropolitan Police to drop all charges against Anonno Mamun and Shaheen Mridha has been circulated online. Sign the petition here .

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