India is partially lifting a ban on online pornography after public outrage over this past weekend’s clampdown on 857 websites, Indian news outlets reported Tuesday.
The government will continue to block sites that promote child pornography, India Today and The Times of India reported.
“A new notification will be issued shortly. The ban will be partially withdrawn. Sites that do not promote child porn will be unbanned,” Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told India Today TV.
India had ordered Internet service providers to block the 857 websites starting Friday, deeming their content “immoral and indecent.” The move came after the nation’s supreme court ruled last month that banning pornographic websites is not its job, but the elected government.
The ban drew sharp criticism across the nation, including from Bollywood celebrities. Experts warned the move could merely result in a boom for the adult porn industry.
“Banning p**n is an age-old trick that many countries have tried. It will always find many supporters,” Mahesh Bhatt, a Bollywood filmmaker, told The Washington Post.
Many accused the government of moral policing and infringing on personal freedoms, India Today reported.
“Don’t ban p**n. Ban men ogling, leering, brushing past, groping, molesting, abusing, humiliating and raping women. Ban non-consent. Not s*x,” author Chetan Bhagat said on Twitter. “porn ban is anti-freedom, impractical, not enforceable. Politically not very smart too. avoidable. Let’s not manage people’s private lives,” he added.
India has the second-largest population of Internet users in the world after China, the Post reported. India is expected to have more than 500 million Internet users by 2017, compared with about 350 million now, according to a report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, the Post reported.