Facebook Page Critical Of Modi Govt Taken Down And Reactivated Mysteriously
NC24x7 spoke exclusively to the administrator of the page to understand why they were banned.
So what if I say that you could be the next target for passing off any specific information critical of the government or expressing any free thought. Imagine you are travelling in a car on a highway, and witness constant bumps due to substandard road conditions. You decide to go online to rage against the system, but you only end up being in more trouble with a strict regime at the helm of affairs. Even after the landmark judgment by the Supreme Court striking down section 66 A of the Information and Technology Act, free space on the Internet is shrinking each day as unsolicited bans end up making things difficult.
Take the case for Facebook page India Atheists, for instance, which regularly posts stories throwing light on the manner in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is fooling voters of the country and spreading their vicious ideology. The popular page was pulled down and reactivated after some time, NC24x7 spoke exclusively to the administrator of the page to understand why they were banned.
“The page was reactivated without any information. The media noises and action worked. It is still worrisome that we don’t know what had happened,” said Soorya Sriram, one of the administrators of the Facebook page India Atheists.
Sriram asserted, “Recently we have been talking on two major issues. There has been a lot of criticism in particular for BJP and we have spoken a lot on casteism. In fact, I am not sure what laws we have violated. The most annoying part is that the process is very opaque. If there is a legal issue, the initial act is to contact us or send us a legal notice.”
Sriram also pointed out that Facebook did not contact them and the social media company has not informed them if they had violated any rule. “However, it was inaccessible to the people outside and we haven’t heard from Facebook,” Sriram added.
On being asked if he can think of certain posts, in particular, which could have led to the ban, he repeatedly pointed out that he has no idea. “However it’s not just about one post. It’s about the overall pattern on the page. As a page, we have been consistently critical of the government. We have tried reaching out to Facebook and have been told that we will be contacted shortly.”
According to Freedom on the Net 2017 report by freedomhouse.org, an independent watchdog for freedom check on Internet, based in Wahington DC, over 20 people were detained for online comments about religion or political issues such as water dispute or demonetisation as a policy to curb corruption in India last year.