Karthik Subramanian

ISPs tight-lipped about the whole affair

"It is not technically possible to block just a few pages"Telecom service providers do not want to antagonise GovernmentBloggers feel it is their intellectual capital

CHENNAI: A day after television and print media went to town about Internet Service Providers (ISPs) blocking blog-hosting sites, bloggers are still waiting for the answer to the logical question: If a few blogs and websites were found to be damaging, 17 according to some sources, was it necessary to block the entire sites?

Neither the website of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (www.cert-ind.org.in) nor the website of the Department of Telecommunications that sent out the list of banned websites to ISPs have carried any official report on why the websites were blocked.

Even the Internet Service Providers Association of India does not seem to have any straightforward answer for the query.

The Association's secretary Deepak Maheshwari on Monday said, "Imagine being asked to remove just a couple of chairs from a classroom. If it is not possible to remove just those chairs, the only option left is to close the room."

But Mr. Maheshwari was not able to spell out if indeed it is not technically possible to block just a few pages within blogspot.com or typepad.com.

"I really don't know. It must be the case for otherwise the sites would not have been blocked."

The Internet Service Providers, meanwhile, are tight-lipped about the whole affair. Even those telecom service providers, who are used to issuing several press releases to the media in a week, prefer to remain "off-record" saying they do not want to antagonise the government.

For some bloggers, it is more than just a challenge to their freedom of expression.

It is also a move that has blocked them from accessing their own work, which they feel is their intellectual capital.

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