Press Freedom: Why Did Government of India Block RMN News Site?
By Rakesh Raman
I am a journalist and founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation. Besides running my news services, I run a number of anti-corruption, environment protection, and education awareness campaigns. I have been receiving multiple threats for the past about 2 years for my editorial / social work.
In order to thwart my anti-corruption efforts and suppress my voice as a journalist, the corrupt people are sending repeated threats to me. These include false police complaints against me, threats of physical harm to me, expulsion notices, legal notices, and slanderous attacks on my social as well as professional status.
I have informed about these threats to the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Delhi Police, and other government departments.
News Site Blocked by Government
But today (November 15, 2018), it was a peculiar experience for me. When I tried to open my news site Raman Media Network (http://www.ramanmedianetwork.com/) in the morning, I could not open it.
Instead I got the message on the web page: “Your requested URL has been blocked as per the directions received from Department of Telecommunications, Government of India. Please contact administrator for more information.”
When after my repeated attempts, I was not able to open my site, I sent a Twitter message to Mr. Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for India’s Ministry of Communications as well as the Prime Minister Office (PMO India).
However, I did not get any response, and my news site would keep showing the “blocked” message even after many hours of wait to get it unblocked.
There was no problem on the server side because I could open my site using a proxy service. And in all probability it was working in countries outside India. But I fail to understand why it was blocked in India.
Although I have written a number of reports that reveal Indian government’s attacks on press freedom, at this stage I do not want to ascribe such a motive behind the blockage of my news site.
However, after a few hours of wait today, I wrote an article on my technology news site RMN Digital, explaining my experience regarding the government-ordered attack of my other news site.
In my article, I urged the Government of India to unblock my news site and if it is an attempt to suppress my voice as a journalist, the government should not commit such a despotic act.
I shared this article with a number of agencies in India and abroad. After a few hours, at around 12:15 p.m. today, my site was unblocked.
But why did Government of India block the RMN (Raman Media Network) news site?
About Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, he was writing an exclusive edit-page column regularly for The Financial Express (a daily business newspaper of The Indian Express Group).
Nowadays, for the past over 7 years, he has been running his own global news services on different subjects. He also has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation.
He runs an exclusive community-driven anti-corruption social service “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice. He creates and distributes a number of digital publications that cover areas such as technology, law, environment, corruption and transparency.
Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development.
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In today’s media world controlled by corporates and politicians, it is extremely difficult for independent editorial voices to survive. Raman Media Network (RMN) News Service has been maintaining editorial freedom and offering objective content for the past more than 10 years despite enormous pressures and extreme threats. In order to serve you fearlessly in this cut-throat world, RMN News Service urges you to support us financially with your donations. You may please click here and choose the amount that you want to donate. Thank You. Rakesh Raman, Editor, RMN News Service.