Google, Facebook and other internet companies have been warned by India’s High Court that their websites could be blocked if they fail to remove “offensive, objectional” content.
Delhi High Court said: “You must have stringent check. Otherwise, like China, we may pass orders banning all such websites.”
Facebook is blocked in China and Google withdrew its search engine two years ago after a confrontation with authorities over censorship. The internet giant renewed its license in the country in September last year.
During a hearing with legal representatives of Facebook and Google yesterday, Justice Kait said the websites must “develop a mechanism to check and remove offensive and objectionable material from their web pages.”
Last month Communications Minister Kapil Sibal met officials from internet companies to inform them the government would introduce guidelines to ensure “blasphemous material” did not appear on the internet.
Faked naked pictures of Indian political leaders and religiously sensitive images posted online have angered the government.
India has more than 110 million internet users out of a population of 1.2 billion. Up to 600 million people are predicted to be online in the country within the next five years.