Amnah Khalid BeyondHeadlines
Kualalampur: India was ranked second behind South Korea in Asia in an assessment of Internet and Digital Media Fredom. It was ranked 14th on a global scale with Estonia topping the list by Freedom House.Freedom House is an independent US based organisation that monitors democratic change, human rights and freedom of speech.It was set up in 1941 and largely funded by US government and deals in diverse areas like media freedom,governance. It is active in advocacy initiatives focused on North Korea, Africa and religious fredom.
India was considered,’ partially free’ with 36 points earlier, it had 34 points out of 100 in 2009. The lesser the points the greater the extent of freedom.The assessment basis was a set of 23 methodology questions with three sub-categories like legal , political and economic environments. The drop in points cited the gradual increase in policing of the internet. The particular case of Lakshman Kailash K was mentioned, who defamed an Indian historical figure online and was arrested and jailed for 50 days falsely. The report stated,’ The Indian bloggsphere is uite active and eloquent, complementing the rise in internet use by different interest groups and civil society actors. Bloggers are rarely forced by the government or private individuals to take down their writings, but there have been a few instances in which this occured’.
Another trend it highlighted was the Urban-Rural dvide in Internet usage.It claimed Urbanites used internet ten times more than people living in rural areas. The potential of rural internet pentration was at 6.446 million but only 4.18 million active useage was detected.
Overall internet freedom was reducing through legal harassment, opaque censorship, expandinmg survelliance in democracies lik Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea Turkey UK and India.