Convergence Bill-More dangerous than the Carnivore?

(P.S: Since the publication of this article, the draft Bill has been amended and many of the objections raised herein have been addressed satisfactorily in the August 31 draft. thanks the Government of India for its responsiveness. In the light of these modifications, the comments made here in may be treated as of academic interest only. ..Naavi)

The Convergence Bill that is presently before the Parliament has the potential to become the most Anti-Freedom  legislation in India...atleast to the Indian Netizens or Citizens of India who are also Netizens.

Some experts have recently commented that perhaps the Convergence Bill is coming too soon and we should learn by the Malaysian Experience where a similar law was enacted in 1998, where it is dubbed a piece of "Over Regulation".

The fundamental problem of Convergence Bill is that perpetuation of the  "License Raj" is the essence of the Bill. While this may not be new to the Broadcast or the Telecom industry, Internet users have the cause to raise their voice because their freedom is being lost once and for all.

I am one of those who advocate "Self Regulation" and also support "Fair Regulation". But Convergence Bill has the potential to be not only an "Unfair Legislation" but also a "Draconian Legislation".

While licensing for the purpose of  "Spectrum Management" is a "Fair Regulation", by no stretch of imagination, licensing of Internet Content Publication can be supported. Convergence Bill aims to not only license such web activities, but also regulate through a "Code of Content". has previously discussed the existence of web sites such as and and why the content in these sites need to be regulated. This matter has also been brought to the notice of the Government. However, the Government has not seen the urge to take action against these sites which are spreading hatred and promoting session in India. 

We donot need the Convergence Bill to regulate the content of hate sites such as or But we have not shown the inclination to do so. 

Then what is the objective of a new "Content Code?".

Would  it be applied to meet political ends?. Would  NDA use it against Congress?  or DMK against AIADMK? . Tomorrow will Congress (When in power)  use it against NDA?
... are the concerns of Indian Netizens. 

The power conferred by the Bill  to regulate Internet content is likely to be a tool in the hands of the political parties to meet their own ends rather than serve the people. 

This Bill is therefore more dangerous than the Carnivore and the Indian Netizens and those interested in the growth of Internet should raise in one voice to get the Bill suitably amended before it is passed through the Parliament in a hurry. 

July 31 2001
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