The country’s government has ordered internet service providers to disable access to 857 pornographic websites in the name of “morality”.
A telecommunication department spokesman said the ban has been issued under the country’s information technology act, following comments made by India’s Supreme Court last month.
“The court said that free and open access to these websites should be controlled,” the spokesman said.
The department issued a 17 page document listing websites that it said include content that “violates morality and decency”.
The ban is India’s largest crackdown on internet content so far. In July, India’s top court examined a petition which claimed online pornography fuelled sex crimes. It refused to issue a blanket ban, saying it was not for the court to issue such restrictions.
However the court felt it was a problem for the government to tackle.
The restriction is only temporary, until the government finds a more permanent way of dealing with the problem. He said the websites can still be accessed through proxy or private networks so the whole thing is a farce.
Ram Gopal Varma, Bollywood film director and one of many Indian celebrities to criticise the ban, tweeted: “To ban porn saying it will be seen by who shouldn’t see it is like saying to stop traffic because there will be accidents.”