Versions of the following comment have appeared in:
online Wall Street Journal: Jessica E. Vascellaro - Google Discloses Requests on Users
WATBlog.com: Siddharth Raman India Ranks 3rd in Censoring & Removal Requests To Google – A Detailed Look
voxy.co.nz David Silversmith Google Publicizes Government Censorship Requests
Defamer Australia: Glen Runciter Google’s New Government-Tracking Toy
ZD Net: Tom Espiner UK leads in Europe for Google data surveillance
France 24.com: Google ‘outs’ countries that demand data on web users
news.techwhack.com: Google launches GovernmentRequests tool
truthdig.com: Google’s ‘Government Requests’ Map Outs Nosy Feds
technewsworld.com: Katherine Noyes New Google Tool Exposes Government Pushing and Prying
techdailydose.nationaljournal.com: Juliana Gruenwald New Google Tool Highlights Data Removal Requests
I commend this path-breaking idea from Google. Now it must be put to good use by responsible civil society groups.
It is interesting that India stands third in the number of requests to block content and fourth in the number of requests for data.
Internet freedom is not complete without privacy.
But I am grateful for even this “free” scrap.
Till I put some money on this P III and net connection, the ruling class of India had believed it had consumed me with their toast.
Guardian UK has “disappeared” me. Withdrawn my posting privileges and scrubbed my earlier comments.
The Economist wobbles – sometimes scrapping my comments and at other times leaving them on.
bbc.co.uk has published my comment in one blog but would not publish them in the Indian blog.In a form letter they have conveyed their fear that they may be sued for “defamation” !!!!!
Have these eminences of the media seriously scrutinised my claims and found them inadequate ? Absolutely not.
But they do crumble with one phone call from the Prime Minister’s Office or someone else.
The Indian media’s poppadum panjandrums have said what I have said from the safety of their armchairs.
I am recounting my lived experience, with documentation.
Have I acted in the larger interest ? You be the judge.
Have they ?
Here’s my comment that appears to have rocked some stalwarts of the "free world"
As somebody who has conscientiously refused to do business the way it “normally” is in so called democratic societies – “Go along to get along” – I will not pay bribes – and who has been almost destroyed for my pains, I have come to believe that the Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh and his Congress party have been wishy washy, namby pamby, lackadaisical, mealy mouthed and covertly encouraging of corruption.
As long as the Eleventh Commandment – Thou Shalt Not Get Caught – was not broken, Dr Singh and his party could be relied upon to engage his considerable personal influence and the immense powers of his office to pour unction on roiling waters.
Faced with a eight day long furore and the cold fact of one of his brightest colleagues having been caught red handed, Dr Singh’s reported first response was, ” There are ups and downs in politics”.
Given such dissimulation from the Prime Minister Of India, a scholar with a reputation for probity, for those who stand up for the idea of the rule of law in India, there is only one long, unbroken “down”.
Twenty years ago – I had the privilege of having conceived, researched, scripted, edited, presented and produced a 37 minute Doordarshan commissioned documentary in Urdu,”Hyderabad. August 1948?, on the circumstances in which the 28 year old editor Shoebullah Khan of an Urdu newspaper, Imroose, was slaughtered, because of his open defiance of the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad.
The documentary was acclaimed nationally.
Historians of the calibre of Dr Bipan Chandra commended the meticulous research.
Freedom fighters expressed their gratitude that light had been shone on a chapter of history, which they believed had been obscured.
Among the most epiphanic reviews was the one by Dr Manmohan Singh’s former media adviser, currently editor of Business Standard and fellow Hyderabadi Dr Sanjaya Baru.
Under the informal chairmanship of Dr Abid Hussain, India’s former ambassador to the USA, I was able to organise a petition to the former Prime Minister Dr P V Narasimha Rao.
This resulted in a freedom fighter’s status and pension for the martyr’s wiidow, more than four decades after his supreme sacrifice.
However since the past two decades I have been hounded by the bureaucracy, with the Indian editorial class (with an occasional honourable exception)doing its bit to trivialise, denigrate and gag me.
I have been outspoken – wrote an article in the editorial page of The Hindustan Times and The Pioneer- about corruption in Doordarshan – the Government’s so-called public service broadcaster.
Since the past two decades, the Government of India, the Government of my own state, Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh High Court , the Chief Information Commissioner and State Information Commissioner have combined to impress on me that what works in India is what I have called the “patronage paradigm” – the paradigm of shoddiness, irresponsibility, cronyism and corruption” – and that ideas of the rule of law and democratic processes are merely spectacles to lull the gullible.
I have been denied the recognition that were commended to me by one former Chief Minister of my state, one former minister of home affairs, one speaker of the Lok Sabha, several prominent ministers of the central cabinet, eminent intellectuals and freedom fighters.
I have been unable to earn a decent living.
The office of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh incited my neighbors to cut off my water supply.
Wajahat Habibullah and C D Arha have conducted themselves as though the RTI Act 2005 does not exist.
The information commissions in the state and at the centre denied me my right to information on spurious, brazenly illegal grounds and punished me for daring to object.
The AP high court sought independent legal opinion on my plaint, which was completely and unequivocally in my favour, and a judge issued a notice, yet the AP High Court high court denied me my right to competent counsel – a right given to the 26/11 gunman – and punished me for complaining.
The Prime Minister’s Office appears to have jumped through hoops to heap honour on a businessman alleged to be a serial swindler.
In the same vein, it has and continues to illegally and fraudulently deny me the information I have sought and protect the miscreants who have stonewalled my pursuit of justice.
Rashtrapathi Bhavan, after repeated urgings from me, had issued notices to the Ministry of Law and the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh almost a year ago, presumably it has taken a prima facie view, but since then has been content to let matters fester.
In other words, even as we speak, Dr Manmohan Singh”s office, “Daredevil” Pratibha Patil’s Rashtrapati Bhavan, Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, State Information Commissioner CD Arha are all locked in a most perverse and ignominious conspiracy of silence to deny me justice.
India’s editorial class always narcissistic has decayed and is useless.
Like the police in Hindi films, it arrives after all the action is over and then mouths “dialogue’.
Variations of this comment have appeared in almost every major Indian online publication plus in many abroad.
However, not a single editor or reporter has had the professionalism to pick it up and make it “impact”.
My credentials are strong and I have taken much trouble to meet many editors personally, usually on impeccable referrals.
Our “know-it-all-in -chiefs” have had nothing but smirks to offer.
When I sought the solidarity of the press, Shekhar Gupta (editor in chief of The Indian Express) advised me, “You cannot go around taking pangas (quarrels) with people, yaar.”
Even my comments are mutilated.
Vinod Mehta’s “Outlook” has banned my comments on risible grounds.
The Hindu crawled.
It published “spin” by corrupt officials and got hissy with me for pointing out, with evidence, its craven, yellow soul.
The Indian Press (with a solitary exception) blacked out the fervent open letter written by Padma Vibhushan Kaloji Narayana Rao.
That dear man , clear as a bell in his nineties, had laid his head on my shoulder, hugged me and wept.
What about “civil society” in India ?
Since close to a year now, I have written to the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Campaign for Judicial Accountability And Reform, Forum For Judicial Accountability, MKSS (Aruna Roy)and Anna Hazare regarding this cascading delinquency of constitutional bodies in India.
There has not been one constructive response.
They all appear to be in helpless denial of the awful truth that an innocent citizen has been hounded and humiliated since two decades, not for any bad behaviour or wrongdoing, but for resisting the dilution of the values of the Indian constitution and standing up for the correct administration of the Right To Information Act 2005.
Please visit and participate at http://sathyagraha.blogspot.com
Andhra Pradesh High Court’s Pernicious Rebellion Against The Law .05/29/09
RTI Act 2005 Abuse In Andhra Pradesh- SIC Cheats! Chief Secretary Lies!05/07/09
Prejudiced CIC Laps Up PMO Lies 05/05/09
Compelling Criminality. Divakar S Natarajan and Varun Gandhi Cannot Both Be Wrong ! 01/28/09
And India’s editorial class will not report the story!
Also Mad Dogs And Guardian UK
News and views from Divakar S Natarajan’s, “no excuses”, ultra peaceful, non partisan, individual sathyagraha against corruption and for the idea of the rule of law in India.
Now in its 18th year.
Any struggle against a predatory authority is humanity’s struggle to honour the gift of life.