Blogs and the RTI Act

Using the Right To Information Act to find out if and why the GOI has blocked blogs in India.

I have been unable to read any blog on blogspot.com or on typepad.com for the last few days. It seems that the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India has blocked these sites. This allegation is based on the information given by people on the Reliance, MTNL and Spectramind helplines. For more in-depth coverage, read this:
Mridula's Blog
If true, this is highly undemocratic. We are not in China or Pakistan. We are in India. We will be ruled by the laws of democracy. I may have a solution. Encourage as many people as possible to apply under the Right to Information Act 2005 to ascertain the true reasons behind this block.
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The process is simple.
 
Step 1: Take a piece of paper, address it to the concerned Public Information Officer (PIO). In this case, I believe it is the PIO, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications. His address is:
Shri B.B.Bahl,
Joint Director and PIO (RTI)
Office of PIO (RTI)
Room No 1016 Electronics Niketan
Department of Information Technology (DIT)
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology 
6, CGO Complex, New Delhi
Tel: 011-24301116
Fax: 011-24363099Email: pio.dit_hq@mit.gov.in
 
Step 2: Draft a simple letter, for example, with the subject reading like this:
SUB: Request to Information Regarding the Blocking of Internet domains: blogspot.com, typepad.com and geocities.com
and a body asking the following (feel free to add anything more):

I would like to use the Right To Information Act to ascertain the following:

  1. Has there been a directive issued by the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology to block the domains http://www.blogspot.com, http://www.typepad.com and http://www.geocities.com?
  2. If so, why has this block come into force?
  3. Why have these particular domain names been specifically blocked?
  4. When will this block cease to exist?
  5. If no such directive has been issued, why are these websites being blocked?
  6. Who is responsible for ensuring that Indian citizens have the freedom to access these websites?
  7. What form of redressal does an Indian citizen have to ensure that these websites are no longer blocked?
---- NOTE ---- 
Under the Right to Information Act, 2005
YOU ARE NOT COMPELLED TO GIVE A REASON FOR YOUR REQUEST
You simply ask the questions and they must answer within 30 days
 
Step 3: Include your name and your full postal address at the end of the letter. This is extremely vital so that the PIO can respond to your request. The information will be sent to you via post.
 
 
Step 4: Go to your nearest post office. A list of post offices accepting RTI applications is given here:
http://www.indiapost.gov.in/rtimanual16a.html
 
Step 5: Submit your application and pay Rs.10 at one of the eligible Post Offices and ensure that you get your receipt. This is once again vital as proof of your application. Make copies of your application for your future reference.
 
 
Step 6: Come home, and wait for the response. Allow 5 days for the Post Office to deliver the application to the PIO concerned, and 30 days after that for the PIO to respond to you. So in a total of 35 days, the PIO MUST RESPOND.
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::: UPDATE :::
 
 
This isn't very difficult, time consuming or expensive. And it will ensure our rights as citizens are maintained. Leave a comment if you have any questions. I'm filing the RTI Application myself tomorrow morning. Please inform everyone concerned about this procedure. It will help us get rid of this ridiculous ban.
 
The Government cannot block a website for no reason, and certainly not one which we use to express ourselves.
 
Update: You can read about what you could to help here: