Facebook, Google, others face charges in India
Indian Government officials are upset about material insulting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ruling Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi and major religious figures. Some illustrations have shown Singh and Gandhi in compromising positions and pigs running through Mecca, Islam's holiest city.
On Friday, the federal government told a New Delhi court that there was sufficient material to proceed against 21 social networking sites for offenses of "promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to national integration," according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
The cases, which PTI said name companies including Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft, represent a new risk of doing business in the nation of more than 1 billion people, which is looking to technology to boost its economy and standard of living. The dispute highlights India's difficulty in balancing the Internet culture of freewheeling discourse with its homegrown religious and political sensitivities.
Convictions could bring fines and up to five years' imprisonment, through prosecutors have named only the companies involved rather than any executives. Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar on Friday asked India's External Affairs Ministry to serve summons to officials of foreign-based companies for court appearances March 13.
In December, Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal said he had spoken repeatedly with officials from major Internet companies over the past three months and asked them to come up with a voluntary framework to keep offensive material off the Internet. He said that the companies told him there was nothing they could do.
There was no immediate comment by the networking sites after Friday's court proceedings.
However, Facebook said last month that it would remove content that "is hateful, threatening, incites violence or contains nudity."
Google said in a December statement that it removes content that violates local law and its own standards.
"But when content is legal and doesn't violate our policies, we won't remove it just because it's controversial, as we believe that people's differing views, so long as they're legal, should be respected and protected," Google said in a statement in December.
Sibal had shown reporters Web illustrations showing Singh and Gandhi in compromising positions as well as a site showing pigs running through Islam's holy city of Mecca, a clear insult to Muslims.
Sibal said the Internet companies had told him that they were applying U.S. standards to their sites, and he objected, saying that they needed to be sensitive to Indian sensibilities.
BBC SportWhen it's put to him that he might be the most talented athlete in the world to hold a racquet, a bashful Ramy Ashour admits "that's pretty great".The 25-year-old Egyptian is more than just the current squash world number one - his elastic, unorthodox brilliance and charisma could be the key to squash breaking out beyond its four walls and regaining a place on the wider sporting
Ministers in Prime Minister Hisham Qandil's cabinet following the recent reshuffle (new appointees are in italics): 1. Minister of Agriculture Ahmed Mahmoud Ali El-Gizawi2. Minister of Antiquities Ahmed Eissa3. Minister of Aviation Wael Maadawi4. Minister of Communication Atef Helmy5. Minister of Culture
AP— April 15, 2013: Two bombs explode in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 140.— January 17, 2011: A backpack bomb is placed along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Washington, meant to kill and injure participants in a civil rights march, but is found and disabled before it can explode. White
The convenient marriage between Iran and the Arab left would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, given the traditional ideological paradoxes between patriarchal Persian Shiism, on the one hand, and leftist orthodoxy on the other.Indeed, a casual viewer of Hizbullah's Al-Manar television, or the Iranian-funded Al-Mayadin TV, these days would probably think that the two Shia propaganda