Why Did India Ban (And Then Un-Ban) All The Porn On The Internet?

Porn is anti social — at least according to the Indian Government. The Indian government asked Internet Service Providers in the country to block more than 800 pornographic websites as part of their efforts to prevent them from “spreading anti-social activities.” The decision sparked a debate on freedom of speech and censorship in India.

“Free and open access to porn websites has been brought under check,” N.N. Kaul, a department of communications spokesman, told Reuters. “We don’t want them to become a social nuisance.” According to data from Pornhub, India ranks fifth worldwide for number of daily visitors and fourth in mobile.

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In an order issued on July 31, the government ordered 857 websites to be blocked “on grounds of morality and decency.” Last month, the Indian Supreme Court ruled against the outright prohibition of internet porn, arguing that porn access fueled crimes against women.

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According to The Verge, internet users in India reported that some porn websites had been replaced with blank white pages. Others reported a government message saying the website had been blocked. Government officials said they enacted the ban this weekend to prevent children from accessing the sites but, through a virtual private network or proxy servers, horny adults still accessed the forbidden content.

“There is no proper justification given for banning all porn rather than child porn or revenge porn or something like that,” said Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore during an interview with The Financial Times. “The reaction is heavy-handed and has been done under the cloak of secrecy.”

The ban, which listed 857 websites, included:

  • africansexvideos.net
  • shemale.com
  • teengayporntube.com
  • gayboystube.com
  • playboy.com
  • bangbros.com
  • youporn.com

There was no information saying what the consequences would be if someone watched porn, but Indian officials stated the ban on porn was actually meant for children and not adults. People took to social media over the weekend to speak out against the ban using the hashtag #PornBan.


After the backlash, the Indian government decided to lift the ban on Tuesday and gave individual ISPs the option to un-ban the site, saying that it’s the ISP’s responsibility to block all child pornography from Indian internet browsers. Banning well-known child pornography sites should’ve been the first and only step the Indian government took. Banning porn in general wielding undeserved authority over all the Indians and treated the country’s adults like children.

(featured image via The Verge)

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