Netizens of the tricity are concerned about child pornography and trafficking via the internet yet they feel the government intervention of banning websites is not the answer to the problem. A ban of any kind, say internet users, ignites more curiosity and proves to be a futile exercise.
Sahil Chaudhary, a probationary officer at Federal Bank in Chandigarh and a resident of Zirakpur, says, “There is certainly a need to curb child pornography and trafficking. However, measures to control the internet beyond that are ill-advised and will backfire. Leslee Udwin’s documentary India’s Daughter became a rage online precisely because it was banned.”
Aman Deep, a Ph.D scholar at the Department of English and Cultural Studies, Panjab University, says, “Governments in India resort to knee-jerk reactions for solving problems. Measures against serious threats to national security are justified. However, standards of morality and decency cannot be set by a bunch of people.” She adds that exploitation of women certainly occurs through forced prostitution and pornography but cosmetic moves by the government cannot solve the problem.
Inderdeep Singh, a field officer in a public sector bank and resident of Mohali, says, “Adolescents have a curiosity in adolescence and their energy has to be channeled by educating them that sex is a normal human need. Children certainly access pornography. Making sex a taboo subject only harms them.” He observed that rape and crime existed even before the advent of pornographic videos and a direct relation between the two cannot be thus established.
The internet has been a platform for diverse opinions and a launching pad for dissent. It is widely known that most porn websites use servers outside India and they can be accessed through the use of proxy servers or virtual private networks (VPN).
A postgraduate student of economics at Panjab University said on condition of anonymity that even if the government tries, internet cannot be shackled and a few websites are just a drop in the ocean as there are millions of such pages.
It is common knowledge that website creators change servers and domains to upend bans. In 2006, the Union government had banned savitabhabhi.com, a porn comic strip website. Soon after, the website resurfaced as kirtu.com.
Netizens believe the whole issue of ‘swachh bans’ calls for a serious rethink.