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India backs down on porn ban

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India has decided to “partially” lift its controversial ban on internet pornography.

The country’s government blocked 837 pornography websites over the weekend in an effort to prevent adult content from becoming a “social nuisance”.

However, the decision met widespread backlash (unsurprisingly), and sparked a nationwide debate about censorship.

As such, the ban is being lifted, although it’s not clear to what extent.

“A new notification will be issued shortly. The ban will be partially withdrawn,” says Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s Information and Technology Minister, speaking to India Today TV.

He adds: “Sites that do not promote child porn will be unbanned.”

The ban received huge criticism after being enacted, and sired the #Pornban hashtag on Twitter.

A number of India’s leading public figures were amongst those to openly condemn the decision to censor adult content on the web.

“Don’t ban porn,” argued prominent author Chetan Bhagat. “Ban men ogling, leering, brushing past, groping, molesting, abusing, humiliating and raping women. Ban non-consent. Not sex.”

Bhagat continues: “Porn ban is anti-freedom, impractical, not enforceable. Politically not very smart too. Avoidable. Let’s not manage people’s private lives.”

Pranesh Prakash, of Indian think-tank Centre for Internet and Society, said: “It is illegitimate because it is not as though the government has found these websites unlawful...This is a blanket ban and the government has not thought through the consequences.”

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Here’s how Twitter reacted to the ban being lifted:

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