How India tried to ban porn and failed

This week Narendra Modi’s government was left looking rather red-faced. Late last week it had quietly told telecoms companies around the country to block public access to 857 porn sites, citing the need to protect public morality. Days later, on August 4th, the telecoms minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, backed down, saying the sites should not be blocked after all, other than any proven to be showing child pornography. The reversal coincided with another official climb-down, as the government in effect gave up on important plans to change the way land is bought and sold. Together they suggest Mr Modi’s administration is making a habit of misjudging policy and the public mood. In the case of pornography in India, what went awry?The ruling politicians bungled badly over porn. India’s Supreme Court had heard a case, earlier this summer, from Kamlesh Vaswani, the man who compiled the list of 857 porn sites and sought a ban for an assortment of reasons, including the imperative to protect users of porn from their own base urges. “Nothing can more efficiently destroy a person, fizzle their mind, evaporate their future, eliminate their potential or destroy society like pornography,” he had pleaded. The court sensibly declined to order the ban, finding that adults in India are perfectly capable of judging whether they are fit to look at pornography and fizzle their minds, or not. In any case, as officials from the telecoms ministry admitted this week, many internet users are well aware of how to circumvent national restrictions on access to websites.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/08/economist-explains-2

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