Indian Communications Minister Kapil Sibal has promised to not tolerate internet content which is deemed to be of an offensive nature.

Executives from the major internet companies such as Facebook, Twitter,  Google, Microsoft and Yahoo were met by Kapil Sibal and urged to remove offensive and, in particular, blasphemous content from their respective websites.

The move by the Indian authorities has angered many who believe that India is seeking to censor criticism of the government and restrict the freedom of expression through the internet.

However this has been denied by Indian officials who say the move is to prevent conflict between the many different religious factions in India who could use the internet to taunt or provoke members of opposing faiths.

Kapil Sibal said "My aim is that insulting material never gets uploaded. We will evolve guidelines and mechanisms to deal with the issue. They will have to give us the data, where these images are being uploaded and who is doing it."

Law Minister Salman Khurshid backed up his colleague by saying the motivation is not censorship but to attack offensive content.

Governments across the globe, including the UK, have considered shutting down social networks during times of trouble to prevent coordinated uprising and social unrest…..countries such as Egypt and Iran have actually closed down social networks for this very reason.

At a time when the global economy is at risk of collapse and social unrest is becoming a worldwide certainty moves by governments to censor internet content are conspicuous by their timing and should be viewed with healthy dose of suspicion and scepticism.

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