Last month, a court in India ordered Google (among other web companies) to remove content from its search results that the court found to be objectionable on the grounds that it offended India’s religion and culture. Google complied with the request and today notified the court that the content has been removed.
Google denied any allegation that, by making the objectionable content available through its search results, it portrayed India’s society or religious beliefs in any kind of negative light. The company acknowledged that it has a responsibility for finding an accord between promoting free speech while respecting the community mores of regions that use Google. Google added, however, that under the protections afforded by India’s Information Technology Act the civil suit against the company should be dismissed.
Presumably, Google has satisfied the request of the Indian courts as no more removal requests have been added to Google’s Transparency Report although 122 more items have been added to the “Items requested to be removed” category. Additionally, only half of the removal requests have been fulfilled.
In light of the removal of the content, India’s Technology Minister has previously said that the country’s government would not censor social media. However, Facebook, Orkut, and YouTube have also been told to remove content due to it allegedly offending cultural or religious beliefs in India.