Almost a week after multiple Indian internet service providers blocked search engine DuckDuckGo for a few days, websites of three environmental organizations have become inaccessible.
Websites of environmental advocacy organizations There is no Earth B, LetIndiaBreathe.in (LIB), and FridaysForFuture (FFF) have now been blocked for several days because of a government order that’s not come to the fore till now. However, there’s no clarity as to why the order was issued.
— ThereIsNoEarthB (@thereisnoearthb) July 10, 2020
In a statement, There is no Earth B said that the organization is still ascertaining the reason behind their website being blocked despite not hosting any objectionable content:
While we are still ascertaining the reasons behind our website getting blocked despite having no objectionable content whatsoever, we have found that we are not alone in this predicament. Various other environmental groups and their websites have been subjected to a similar unjustified curtailment of the democratic as well as fundamental right to freedom of expression through the internet, and we stand in solidarity with them as we most humbly urge the government to restore our rights.
Fridays For Future India, the country arm of an initiative started by Greta Thunberg, also issued a similar statement.
— Fridays For Future India ??? (@FFFIndia) July 13, 2020
Let India Breathe said that their website has been inaccessible since June 29.
Let India Breathe Statement on #InternetCensorship
Today, we are reaching out to our community and large, diverse base of volunteers to inform them about an unprecedented act of internet censorship. (1/11)#InternetFreedom #DigitalLockdown pic.twitter.com/eCdQyoWtXz
— Let India Breathe (@LetIndBreathe) July 13, 2020
Digital rights organization, Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), said that it’s offering legal advice to Let India Breathe and Fridays For Future. IFF has filed a notice at the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) — India’s domain authority — on behalf of Let India Breathe for suspension of its domain.
Bans of this nature are worrisome as many organizations might depend on their websites for work. And because the government doesn’t provide a reason for the website being taken down, it might be tough for them to appeal the decision.