The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

Indian Government Attempts to Remove Material from Western Sites

That material: Photoshopped pictures of PM Narendra Modi "embracing his right-hand man Rajnath Singh on an idyllic beach."


Northern Irish blogger Dean Sterling Jones reports on a successful demand that Buzzfeed remove the photo, and on an unsuccessful demand that WordPress remove it from Jones' own blog post, which had reported on the Buzzfeed incident. I confirmed that the takedown demand came from the Mumbai Cyber Police; it begins:

WordPress alerted Jones to this, writing:

As the request does not comply with our requirements, we will not be taking any action against your site at this time:

While we may preserve information about your account, we have not turned over any information. We will not turn over any information unless we receive a valid request for the information, or a court order. If we do receive such a request, unless we are legally prohibited from doing so, we will inform you and provide you time when you may attempt to quash or legally challenge the request….

Here's the offending altered photo:

Read Jones' post for more, and, if you'd like, check out the Google deindexing requests submitted under Cyber Police Station, Mumbai, some of which seem to be focused on blasphemy or insults of religions, rather than just personal insults of politicians.