Sunday September 2, 2012
Indian American Muslim Council (http://www.iamc.com) an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC) http://www.imrc.ws, the largest relief organization of Indian Muslims based in the US as well as American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) http://www.afmi.org/, a US based philanthropic charity organization, have jointly expressed their grave concern over the directive from India’s Department of Telecommunication (DoT) to block access to certain pages from twocircles.net (TCN), a non-profit based and critically acclaimed news portal. Twocircles.net is dedicated to reporting and covering a range of issues affecting India and Indian Muslims.
The ban on these pages has come in the wake of efforts by the government to block several other sites, ostensibly to control the spread of rumors related to the violence in Assam and Myanmar. However, the TCN pages that have been blocked are completely unrelated to these issues. One of the pages is related to terror stories from Madhya Pradesh that have not been adequately covered in the mainstream media. The other blocked page is related to the violence in Mathura in June 2012, that was sparked by a minor incident, and that led to curfew being clamped in the region.
“Using the violence in Assam and the panic in parts of the country in the aftermath as an excuse to stifle legitimate press coverage of other issues is unacceptable,” said Manzoor Ghori, Executive Director of IMRC. “If there are legitimate concerns about any content adversely impacting communal harmony, these need to be taken up with the news portal before an arbitrary decision is made to block the pages,” said Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC.
“Freedom of the press is vital for the healthy functioning of a democracy,” said Dr. Tajuddin Ahmed, president of AFMI. “Any arbitrary decisions blocking access to credible news sources, likeTwoCircles.Net is bound to scuttle the freedoms guaranteed by the Indian constitution,” added Dr. Ahmed.
IAMC, IMRC and AFMI call upon the government to remove the block on TCN’s pages, and adopt an even handed, fair, and transparent approach in regulating the internet.
1) Blocked for ‘violence’, website to sue govt
2) Unheard, Unspoken … and banned
1.American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin
Phone: (248) 442 2364
2.Indian Muslim Relief and Charities
Phone: (650) 856-0440
3.Indian American Muslim Council
Phone: (800) 839-7270