XXX domain poses headache for Indian regulators

XXX domain poses headache for Indian regulators

The government’s move followed a decade-long dialogue within the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that resulted in the approval for .xxx suffix for pornography websites. Sales of .xxx domains should begin soon in Q2 2011.

Taking a cue from .com, .org, .nic and others, the creation of .xxx would identify adult content and services and could be used by governments for mass censorship of adult content.

Despite continuous efforts by some staunch conservative groups, porn remains easily accessible in India. The move to ban savitabhabhi.com, a popular toon porn site, fell flat when it later resurfaced through a foreign server.

In addition to labelling it immoral under the Indian Penal Code, distribution of adult content is illegal. Distributing such content in the electronic form calls for imprisonment for a maximum term of five years or/and fine which may extend to 100,000 rupees ($2,237).

The battle continues over how the net can handle pornography. Online pornography is becoming more intrusive, more obnoxious and more provocative, conservative bodies say. Some websites like the messaging portal 160by.com and music downloading sites carry adult images and links that seem unavoidable when accessed through a phone.

Asia’s third-largest economy is seeing a huge social change as the middle-class swells and attitudes to arranged marriages and live-in relationships have led to clashes between traditionalist thinking among the elder generation and progressive ideas from the youth.

The self-styled moral policing brigade that attacked women in a Mangalore pub in 2009 due to their late-night partying habits attracted negative comments and feisty retaliation from liberal campaign groups in the form of the ‘pink-chaddi campaign’.

With Indian media consumers becoming numb to onscreen kissing and as censorship norms sway generously, this will be seen as a decisive moment for the Indian government to evolve and liberalise or to choose censorship. Share your views.

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