Ranjona Banerji​: Big Win on Net Neutrality​

17 Jul,2018

​By Ranjona Banerji

 

​India has taken the lead when it comes to net neutrality, fighting off the temptation of surrendering to corporate interests, in order to protect the consumer. Thanks must go primarily to civil society and to a strong TRAI, which against all odds, fended off pressure from the telecom ministry and giants like Facebook and all telecom providers to ensure that the Indian internet consumer could exercise choice and the right to the free internet.
TRAI’s recommendations have been accepted by the department of telecommunications after a long struggle. Internet service providers are prohibited from “any form of discrimination or interference in the treatment of online content.

What does this mean for us, the users of the internet? The inventor of the internet, Vint Cerf, and inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee have both been vociferous against attempts by governments and corporates to interfere with the freedom of the internet. Add to that voices like Apple founder Steve Wozniak. Berners-Lee reiterated last year that his invention was an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries”.

Nikhil Pahwa, co-founder of the Internet Freedom Foundation and volunteer with SaveTheInternet.in, explains why net neutrality was worth fighting for in this article:

TRAI affirms Net Neutrality principles with Discriminatory Access ruling

This one sentence from the end of the article best explains the importance of net neutrality and why it was worth fighting for the most important and fastest growing medium of these times:

“The role of ISPs role is to transfer data packets between users, irrespective of whether the users are commercial or non-commercial entities: without differentiation or discrimination. For users to have confidence in the operation of an exchange, the exchange needs to be neutral and creation must be permission-less.”

Given the near capitulation by some governments to corporate pressures, for now, this is a big victory for India. All kudos to those who saved us from a form of formless tyranny.

**

Srinagar-based journalist Aqib Javed Hakim was summoned to Delhi by the National Investigation Agency, ostensibly for a story he did for the Kashmir Observer. This is one more attempt to intimidate journalists by this administration and the Kashmir Working Journalist Association and the Kashmir Journalist Association have issued a strong statement condemning this harassment. As they have pointed out, it is hardly surprising that India’s is slipping down the rankings in the Press Freedom Index.

Other media associations across India have also condemned the NIA’s actions.

**

Meanwhile, our friends in television appear to have decided that they must hark back to an era of yellow tabloid journalism and make television news a worthy successor of the gutter press. I base this, I confess, from a tweet by Rahul Kanwal,

​managing editor of India Today, who decided to do an interview with actor Sanjay Dutt to ask him how exactly he “bedded” 308 women as claimed in the film “Sanju”.
My compliments to India Today for this ground-breaking journalism.

**

And then, for all those who wondering why nasty Hindutva and pro-BJP and pro-Narendra Modi followers, Alt News has come to the rescue, as ever. It’s all to do with sleaze and porn!!!

Sensationalism, sleaze and misogyny – the other face of right-wing propaganda

 

​Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. The views here are personal​

 

 

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