Gagging The Media
Following its usual opaque routine, DoT issues orders to block 78 URLs, 73 of them with IIPM content —but Outlook is singled out as its entire blogs area is blocked

Normally, you would have read this piece in the blogs.outlookindia.com section of the website but it is being filed here since that entire subdomain has been blocked -- apparently on orders of D.O.T.

The news first came in on Medianama: DoT Issues Orders To Block 78 URLs; 73 URLs With IIPM Content:

India’s Department of Telecommunications yesterday issued instructions to Internet Service Licensees to block access to 78 URLs from India, and what is evident from the list of URLs is that 73 of these are related to the educational institution IIPM. The order is signed by Subodh Saxena of the DoT.

Most surprisingly, the block covers the University Grants Commission, wherein a notice from the UGC pointing towards the unrecognized status of IIPM has been ordered to be blocked.

What is worrying is that the blocks include URLs of news portals like Outlook Magazine, Careers360, The Times of India, FirstPost, Rediff, The Indian Express, The Economic Times, MensXP, The Wall Street Journal, The Caravan Magazine, whose reports related to IIPM have been blocked.

Medianama went on to provide a list of the blocked URLs as given in the Blocking Instructions

  1. http://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/3604913_English.pdf
  2. http://bitly.com/bundles/maheshmurthy/5
  3. http://www.consumercourt.in/other-product-services/114783-fraud-done-iipm-delhi.html
  4. http://iipmexposed.blogspot.in
  5. http://akosha.com/IIPM-complaints-98.html
  6. http://gauravsabnis.blogspot.in/2005/08/fraud-that-is-iipm.html
  7. http://www.consumercourt.nic.in/other-department/88450-fraud-iipm-bangalore-campus.html
  8. http://harishc.blogspot.in/2011/06/caravan-iipm-article.html
  9. http://ekakizunj.com/IIPM_scam
  10. http://www.consumercourtforum.in/f39/iipm-abusing-student-62309
  11. http://iipmexposed.blogspot.in/2006/09/truth.html
  12. http://intellibriefs.blogspot.in/2009/06/iipm-indian-students-beware-best-only.html
  13. http://azatlan.blogspot.in/2005/10/iipm.html
  14. http://nanopolitan.blogspot.in/2005/10/breaking-news-iipm-faculty-pages-have.html
  15. http://youthcurry.blogspot.in/2005/10/lies-damned-lies-and-fake-blogs.html
  16. http://kitabkhana.blogspot.in/2005/10/free-speech-and-iipm.html
  17. http://sambharmafia.blogspot.in/2006/08/plagiarism-charge-on-iipm.html
  18. http://theunknownindia.blogspot.in/2005/10/youre-out-of-rankings-iipm.html
  19. http://curiousgawker.blogspot.in/2005/10/iipm-to-inaugurate-new-answering.html
  20. http://ramblingz.blogspot.in/2005/10/blogs-v-iipm.html
  21. http://www.mensxp.com/work-life/career-center/5363-5-things-mba-aspirants-need-to-know-about-iipm.html
  22. http://www.iipmfraud.com/
  23. http://www.fakingnews.com/2011/07/iipm-appoints-poonam-pandey-as-their-brand-ambassador/
  24. http://www.fakingnews.com/2010/08/iipm-derecognizes-ugc-starts-privy-league-of-universities/
  25. http://getahead.rediff.com/report/2010/aug/26/career-trouble-brewing-for-indian-institute-of-management-and-planning-in-hyderabad.htm
  26. http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.aspx?ddm=10&pid=2536&eid=31
  27. http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.aspx?ddm=10&pid=2583&eid=12
  28. http://www.firstpost.com/politics/sc-stays-iipm-case-against-caravan-magazine-59194.html
  29. http://www.careers360.com/news/3957-IIPM-Uttarkhand-Registrar-recommends-a-ban
  30. http://www.careers360.com/news_3067-IIPM-Best-only-in-claims
  31. http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.aspx?ddm=10&pid=2536&eid=31
  32. http://www.jammag.com/newjam/careers/n/showart.php?art_id=149
  33. http://http://www.caravanmagazine.in/perspectives/iipms-rs500-million-lawsuit-against-caravan
  34. http://bitly.com/bundles/maheshmurthy/5
  35. http://www.indianexpress.com/comments/court-asks-iipm-ugc-to-clarify-on-affiliation/676123/
  36. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/iipm-not-recognized-can-t-award-degrees-ugc/987618
  37. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-06-22/bangalore/29689648_1_iipm-counsel-tamil-nadu
  38. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-07-19/news/32747422_1_iipm-award-degrees-ugc
  39. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/court-asks-iipm-ugc-to-clarify-on-affiliation/676123/
  40. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/iipm-can-t-confer-degrees-ugc/679253/
  41. http://www.indianexpress.com/comments/distancelearning-or-fulltime;-iipm-students-confused/752287
  42. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/iipm-students-file-cheating-complaint-against-dean/790646
  43. http://iipmexposed.blogspot.in/2005/09/truth.html
  44. http://intellibreifs.blogspot.in/2009/06/iipm-indian-students-beware-best-only.html
  45. http://azatlan.blogspot.in/2005/10/iipm.html
  46. http://nanopolitan.blogspot.in/2005/10/breaking-news-iipm-faculty-pages-have.html
  47. http://youthcurry.blogspot.in/2005/10/lies-damned-lies-and-fake-blogs.html
  48. http://kitabkhana.blogspot.in/2005/10/free-speech-and-iipm.html
  49. http://sambharmafia.blogspot.in/2006/08/plagiarism-charge-on-iipm.html
  50. http://theunknownindia.blogspot.in/2005/10/youre-out-of-rankings-iipm.html
  51. http://curiousgawker.blogspot.in/2005/10/iipm-to-inaugurate-new-answering.html
  52. http://ramblingz.blogspot.in/2005/10/blogs-v-iipm.html
  53. http://www.mensxp.com/work-life/career-center/5363-5-things-mba-aspirants-need-to-know-about-iipm.html
  54. http://www.iipmfraud.com/
  55. http://www.fakingnews.com/2011/07/iipm-appoints-poonam-pandey-as-their-brand-ambassador/
  56. http://www.fakingnews.com/2010/08/iipm-derecognizes-ugc-starts-privy-league-of-universities/
  57. http://getahead.rediff.com/report/2010/aug/26/career-trouble-brewing-for-indian-institute-of-management-and-planning-in-hyderabad.htm
  58. http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/08/19/%E2%80%98why-i-took-on-arindam-chaudhuri%E2%80%99/
  59. http://caravanmagazine.in/reportage/sweet-smell-success
  60. http://kafila.org/2011/06/22/arindam-chaudhuri-silchar
  61. http://www.fakingnews.com/2012/06/arindam-chaudhuri-nirmal-baba-in-race-to-become-indias-news-finance-minister
  62. http://www.caravanmagazine.in/category/tags/arindam-chaudhuri
  63. http://www.fakingnews.com/2011/03/arindam-chaudhuri-launches-political-party-to-contest-bengal-elections
  64. http://rogerfacts.blogspot.in/2011/06/sweet-smell-of-success-true-story-of.html
  65. http://www.theunrealtimes.com/2011/06/22/dare-to-search-beyond-google-arindham-chaudhury-to-launch-ponytail-seach/
  66. http://www.caravanmagazine.in/perspectives/iipms-rs500-million-lawsuit-against-caravan
  67. http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/tag/arindam-chaudhuri
  68. http://vijayknair.blogspot.in/2011/07/caravan-and-arindam-chaudhuri-pot-and.html
  69. http://www.fakingnews.com/2010/04/what-is-arindam-chaudhuri-saying-to-the-workd/
  70. http://www.fakingnews.com/2010/07/arindam-next-best-seller-to-clear-the-air-on-inception/
  71. http://qna.rediff.com/questions-and-answers/why-people-hate-iipm-and-arindam-chaudhuri-he-loo/22690586/answers
  72. http://sierainindia.blogspot.in/2011/06/arindam-chaudhuri-sues-caravan-google.html
  73. http://iipmfraud.com

Intriguingly, the other five URLs mentioned B by the DOT order are:

  1. http://ww5.bombayhighcourt.com
  2. http://high-court.com
  3. http://bombayhighcourt.net
  4. http://directdomains.com/profile/highcourts.com/?utm_source
  5. http://highcourtofjustice.com

As can be seen, there are three URLs of blogs.outlookindia.com, viz.(#26, 27 and 31):

  1. http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.aspx?ddm=10&pid=2536&eid=31
  2. http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.aspx?ddm=10&pid=2583&eid=12
  3. http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.aspx?ddm=10&pid=2536&eid=31

Those marked #1 and #3 are actually one blogpost, resolving to one permalink that they apparently wanted blocked:

Why Does Delhi-Based IIPM Repeatedly Sue In Assam?

The other one (#2) is even more innocuous:

SC Stays IIPM's Case Against The Caravan in Silchar

So if only two URLs were sought to be blocked, why is it that the entire blogs.outlookindia.com subdomain blocked since the evening today?

Then it turned out, as the Mint reported:

The directive was issued on the basis of an order from a court in Gwalior, said Gulshan Rai, director general of CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team-India). The order signed by Subodh Saxena of the department of telecommunications (DoT) was issued on Thursday and was reported earlier on Friday by the Medianama website.

These then are the facts of the case:

  1. We do not know what specifically the court in Gwalior has ordered or why
  2. DOT seems to have asked that specific URLs be blocked, which includes the above three [actually two] URLs without any intimation to us
  3. Our entire blogs running on the subdomain blogs.outlookindia.com remains inaccessible since 4 PM today and is being blocked
  4. We now find that even changing the subdomain DNS to another IP address immediately results in fresh blocks for blogs.outlookindia.com
  5. Which basically means that even though the DOT order, ostensibly on the orders of the court in Gwalior, listed two URLs to be blocked, all our blogs have been blocked.
  6. We seem to be the only website which has been singled out for this honour; for others only the specifically named URLs seem to have been blocked and all those websites are otherwise working and accessible. It is only blogs.outlookindia.com that has been fully blocked.
  7. The same blogs server also happened to have our CMSs for updating the rest of the site and also many other resources which too, as a result, became inaccessible and we could not update the site till we devised alternative measures, causing totally avoidable delays, not to mention anything about Article 19 (1) or gagging the press. Which is why even this piece was delayed.
  8. As of now, all the blogs ever done in the past remain inaccessible.

Post Script

A copy of the DoT order can be found here and is also appended below: 

Blocking Instruction (II) 14 Feb 2013 by OutlookMagazine

Click here to see the article in its standard web format