Censorship hatao! Internet bachao!

The government is spying on our internet use, collecting our browsing history and closing down our favorite websites — but tomorrow, citizens are hitting the streets in protest, and we can raise the heat on the government to end the cyber-censorship era.

Last year, the government adopted new IT rules that can control what we say and do online. And now even private companies like Reliance and Bharti Airtel are cutting off access to entire websites under the guise of stopping piracy. But high-profile hack-attacks by Anonymous and the upcoming street protests have put the government and private censors on the defensive, and have forced IT Minister Kapil Sibal to hold consultations to rethink the rules.

The momentum is building — let’s raise our voices now in support of Saturday’s protest and the movement for a free internet. When we reach 20,000 signatures, we’ll deliver our message directly to Minister Sibal: Censorship hatao, internet bachao!

Sign now and forward to everyone!

Last year, the IT Ministry introduced draconian rules demanding that sites like Facebook, Google and Yahoo! remove content within 36 hours of being notified of blasphemous or defamatory material, and requiring cyber-cafe owners to photograph all their customers and forward their internet searches to the government if needed. Now even private companies are interpreting a court ruling as license to shut down entire websites such as Vimeo.

IT Minister Sibal claims the government needs to be able to remove offensive or defamatory content, but the truth is that the censors have fixated on sites and content critical of the government. Under the guise of fighting piracy and respecting sensibilities, private companies and the government are curtailing speech and silencing opposition, posing a China-style threat to our democracy.

The pressure is building on the ham-fisted censors, with internet activists riding to the rescue of our free expression. Add your voice to call on Minister Sibal to reform the IT rules and stop the censorship now! Censorship hatao, internet bachao!

Sign now and forward to everyone!

Avaaz is a 14-million-strong global community fighting for a world free from censorship and corruption, from Brazil and Russia to India, the United States and beyond. Together, we’ve successfully protected our internet from bills like SOPA, PIPA and ACTA in the US and Europe — and together we can restore the free internet in India!

With hope,
Ricken, Stephanie, Alaphia, Alice, Emma, Wissam, Sam and the rest of the Avaaz team