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Press Release : Protest against Internet Censorship
Hundreds of IT professionals, students, academicians and general people turned up to protest against Internet Censorship by government and various private Internet Service providers. Swecha conducted this programme as part of the all India protest call given by FSMI.
The protest was planned to be held at People’s Plaza, Necklace Road. As the protestors reached the venue, a large contingent of police obstructed them on the grounds that they were creating disturbance to public. Even as the protestors were reasoning with the police that their protest would be peaceful and democratic, the police insisted on dispersing them. They tried to arrest the organisers including FSMI general secretary Y Kiran Chandra and Swecha vice president Siddhartha Malempati.
Finally the police convinced the protestors to move to Indira Park to hold the protest there. With police escort, the protestors moved in a procession on bikes and cars to Indira Park shouting slogans against Internet censorship and displaying placards calling for Internet freedom.
At Indira Park the protestors formed a human chain and chanted slogans decrying censorship on Internet from various quarters. Slogans like ‘Vibrant Internet for a vibrant democracy’ ‘Knowledge is Free’. The protest was also against the anti-democratic IT Rules framed by the central government.
Among those who addressed the gathering included Kiran Chandra and Siddhartha Malempati. They sensitized the public on the need for Internet freedom for a vibrant democracy in the country. They emphasized that a free Internet could bridge the knowledge divide and create an informed citizenry. In the era of paid news and corporatized media, the role of Internet as a disseminator of alternative news is the need of the hour. Therefore one should join the fight for Internet freedom and oppose censorship of any kind. The protests ended with the slogan ‘Better listen Sibal, We won’t keep quiet’. Though there was initial resistance by the police, they later cooperated in holding of the peaceful protest. FSMI general secretary Kiran Chandra thanked the police for this cooperation.
Similar vibrant protests were held in Chennai & Bangalore too.