According to numerous sources around Twitter and elsewhere, the Department of Telecom in India appears to be blocking popular video-sharing site Vimeo, as well as various torrent-related websites. The blocking appears to only be in effect via the Reliance Communication ISP, while subscribers to BSNL and Airtel still have access according to Rediff News.
It’s not yet known why BSNL, a state-run ISP, hasn’t been affected. Though visitors via Reliance Communication are greeted with this message, as captured by Saager Mhatre.
India has long been a hotbed of debate when it comes to censorship of content within the country. On many occasions the government has pleaded with Facebook, Google and others to comply with laws inside the country in regards to content “that would offend anyone or cause social disharmony”. The government includes this demand under laws that dictate fundamental rights.
It’s a sticky position for sites like Google, Facebook, Vimeo and others that feature user-generated content. Governments around the world demand that these networks be cleaned of anything offensive that could be displayed in their countries, but accusations of censorship from the rest of the world ring loudly in the ears of the businesses.
Indian ministers have recently called for regulation of social media sites to fall under the same scrutiny that traditional media has:
“The print media is subject to the laws of this country, the electronic media is subject to the laws of this country, My only question is why should social media not be a subject? You can’t print something or see something on television however social media has greater rights than the print or the electronic media.”
Though Google and Facebook have both removed content in the past that was deemed inappropriate, we’ve yet to see Vimeo specifically targeted until now. We’ll be keeping our eyes on the situation, and welcome your reports as well via email.