Delhi court orders 21 websites to self-censor – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In yet another blow to 21 social networking sites including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Youtube, a Delhi court has issued summons to them for facing trial for allegedly webcasting objectionable content.

Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Sudesh Kumar took cognizance on a private criminal complaint and has directed the Centre for taking “immediate appropriate steps” and also file a report in the court by January 13.

Yahoo LogoThe court has asked the 21 websites to remove all derogatory content by February 6, 2012. All the 21 defendants have been told to file compliance order by the same date next year. The websites will face contempt of court in case they fail to remove the objectionable content by February 6.

The court’s order came three days after another court in a civil case had restrained these sites including Facebook, Google and Youtube from webcasting any “anti-religious” or “anti-social” content promoting hatred or communal disharmony.

Google LogoIn the fresh case, the court said, “it appears from a bare perusal of the documents that prima facie the accused in connivance with each other and other unknown persons are selling, publicly exhibiting and have put into circulation obscene, lascivious content which also appears to the prurient interests and tends to deprave and corrupt the persons who are likely to read, see or hear the same.”

“It is also evident that such contents are continuously openly and freely available to everyone who is using the said network irrespective of their age and even the persons under the age of 18 years have full and uncensored access to such obscene contents,” the court said.

Facebook LogoThe MM has summoned the accused companies to face trial for allegedly committing the offence punishable under section 292 (sale of obscene books etc), 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person etc) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

The Magistrate noted that in these websites material submitted by the complainant, Vinay Rai, a journalist, contained obscene picture and derogatory articles pertaining to Prophet Mohammad, Jesus Christ and various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The other complainant is an Islamic scholar who runs website called that gives answers to moral questions. – Times of India, New Delhi, Dec. 24, 2011