South Asia News
Indian courts order websites to remove "offensive" content
Dec 24, 2011, 9:03 GMT
New Delhi - An Indian court Saturday ordered 21 websites including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and YouTube to remove material that might offend religious sentiment, news reports said.
The court in New Delhi issued summons to the companies to stand trial for alleged offences such as distributing obscene material to minors after being shown images said to be offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians, the CNN-IBN network reported.
'The court has directed all defendants to file their written replies and compliance reports on or before February 6, the next date of hearing,' Santosh Pandey, a lawyer who filed the complaint, told broadcaster NDTV.
The companies were not immediately available for comment. The orders came after another city court Wednesday told the websites to remove objectionable content that could promote hatred or communal disharmony.
The court orders are the latest tussle in the controversy over website content in the world's largest democracy.
Recently, telecoms minister Kapil Sibal asked Facebook, Twitter and other websites to remove 'offensive' material which invited sharp criticism from Indians who complained of censorship.
There are hardly any restrictions on internet access in India but the government is gradually turning wary about social websites that have helped fuel massive anti-corruption protests.
India has 100 million internet users, the third-largest number after China and the United States, and about 28 million users of the social networking website Facebook.