China-Like Internet Censorship in RGNUL, Patiala: Gag Order on Protest Video; Facebook Banned

 

Tanuj Kalia
rgnul internet censorship, law school india, rgnul administration

RGNUL, Patiala? RGNUL, Beijing?

Kapil Sibal’s declaration that Google and Facebook must submit their content for screening against ‘objectionable’ content has rightly aroused the indignation of Netiziens around the country” went this news-piece.

Had these Netizens been present in RGNUL, they’d surely have done more than express their indignation. Now, what has RGNUL done here? It’s much more oppressive than Mr. Sibal did and mirrors what China does with discontent.
Here is the story (verified after listening to four student’ accounts):
Around a year ago (September 2011), the mess food at RGNUL was bad, it was unhygienic and sometimes even surprised you with a ‘foreign element’. (We don’t know how the mess food is now).
Around that time a student captured a video of how this unhygienic food was being prepared in RGNUL’s kitchen. The video was uploaded on Facebook.
The administration came to know about this and instead of bettering the food, passed a gag order on the video.
The student was instructed to take-off the video from Facebook. The authorities have also, since then, banned Facebook in RGNUL.
In response to the first few comments asserting that Facebook is not banned in RGNUL: One of the demands in today’s petition is: Social Networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc should be unblocked.
N—
rgnul patiala's internet censorship, rgnul law school
Read the reactions after Aligarh Muslim University banned Facebook here.
Read Open Magazines ‘Internet Police on Campus’ here.
Snippet: It speaks of why the internet as a medium of student expression is being seen as such a serious threat to authority. On the net, all voices are equal, and it is precisely this freedom from power hierarchies it affords that needs to be defended—and fiercely too.

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Comments Till Now

  1. Tanuj will u do it for us says:

    A non-nlu, much More problems.can you help? ???

  2. sameer bhomik says:

    University of Petroleum & Energy(upes).. mind-wooping scandals soon to hit the platform

  3. Internal Policy Matter my Foot! says:

    So an ‘Internal Policy Matter’ can infringe upon a student’s fundamental rights?

    That for sure is China-like!

  4. Dear “Responsible Blogger”

    There is something called “internal policy matter” of an institute…sadly you refuse to understand such a concept. Just to add on to the vigor of blogging, I would suggest, be an informative blogger in its complete senses and write when you know both sides of a story and not just one aspect of it.

    RGNUL Students- If you cant really go and solve the problems in person or face to face, then neither is this “responsible blogger” solving either of your problems.

    Dear Responsible Blogger- please stop endowing upon yourself the responsibilities of a whistle blower/torch-bearer or the only possible crusader RGNUL can ever find.

    PS:- Get Well Soon..!!!

    • administrator says:

      Hi, I know quite a few RGNUL students myself. And quite a few of them a proactive, crusader types!

      However, since last 1-2 years, their voices have been gagged, their acts have been threatened with sanctions, in an effort to silence them.

      In such a case (when an administration thwarts student’ attempts at engaging with them) its the responsibility of a blogger…well, to blog about what is happening.

  5. NUJS CLAT says:

    Oh we forgot! NUJS CLAT! The biggest blunder ever!

  6. U missed it! says:

    Tanuj bro! u missed another important event which took place on the RGNUL Campus. An ant died in front of the academic block!! sad isn’t it. I thought you will be interested to post an obituary for it! 🙁 I have the picture of the dying ant if you want..! hats off to RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM.

  7. Uncle Johnny! says:

    Tanuj really?! Dont you have anything substantial to post! Ahhh….now I know why Bar and Bench and legally India are more preferred….at least they don’t do juvenile journalism like you do….keep it up kid! I also suggest you to open a new section on the website for posting the notices of colleges 🙂 🙂 “Blowing things out of proportion” is what every one should learn from you. good job!

  8. Yet another RGNUL student says:

    I’m going to be defending Kalia.

    “We, the students of RGNUL, want to have such conditions that bloggers like you who have more time on their hands than they should, don’t get to post the stories that you’ve been posting”

    How does this guy/girl presume to speak for all of RGNUL? This is nonsense. Tanuj is well within his rights to speak about all these issues and bring them to the world’s notice.

    In case people are contending that these are internal issues and must be solved as such, you’ve failed to realise that this internal mechanism has not worked for the past 1 – 1 1/2 years. And the reason for that is that the administration simply does not believe that anyone can reprimand or call them out on all this nonsense.

    For anyone at RGNUL, including all these ass-kissing sycophants, ask yourselves how many applications we have written against poor mess food, poor teaching, poor facilities and even poor behaviour on part of certain staff members. There has been hardly any response.

    Some of our esteemed faculty are fresh LLM graduates, some use guide-book as basic reference material in class, some cannot even communicate with a basic standard of English.

    Can we go and complain against these people? Knowing full well that these same incompetent people hold our marks in their hands. Knowing full well that students have been threatened in the past, for RTIs and other things. This is where Tanuj comes in. And Tanuj as an individual is free to focus on things as he chooses.

    But does it make any difference?

    There’s a rumour going around that RGNUL’s VC had a telephonic conversation with the NUJS VC about this, possibly asking him to gag Tanuj. If the administration truly believes that what it is doing is right, as they did in that ‘productive’ session in the moot court hall, they should have no problem with Tanuj reposting facts.

    ADMIN: The admin of RGNUL did ‘talk’ to the NUJS admin on. But its unclear as to what exactly it was about.

    PS: As far as the Facebook issue is concerned, it is a plain lie that it hasn’t been unblocked only because there have not been any requests. There have been requests.

  9. Dear “Not a boot licker”

    It’s not at all about being a sycophant towards the University Administration. It’s firstly about stating your views and the last time I checked, everyone has a right to opinionate, and secondly, it’s healthy in a way that other readers are able to grasp not just a one-sided story, but are getting the gist of both sides of the paper.

    Secondly, regarding the media issue, it’s absolutely true that it was not just the Administration, but even the student community at large did not want their presence during the protests. And honestly it was not a big issue. It was in essence a quiet internal dialogue between the University and the students and everyone, including the students, wanted to keep it that way without the unnecessary presence of media personnel.

  10. Placement says:

    What,s in Facebook Think of placements Assholes;;;;;;;;;;;;;

  11. Not a boot licker says:

    All the RGNUL students here are posers. Chamchas of teachers, students who boot-lick the administration.

    Glad that someone spoke about the evil at RGNUL

  12. “4. NUJS issues: Regular readers will remember that Lawctopus had conducted an essay competition along with LYF on campus democracy, transparency etc.
    Two of these essays, one on NLIU Bhopal and a second on NUJS Kolkata were published here. Both were severely critical of the two colleges.”

    Funny you should mention that as the prize money for the same has after ore than half a year not been dispersed to the winners. You have some explaining to do.

    • administrator says:

      Yes, there was a huge delay in dispersing the prize money. Lawctopus and LYF have apologized to the prize winning students.

      Also, many students had commented complaining of the same. All the comments were published.

  13. RGNUL Chacha says:

    “The China comparisons are obvious: Your college has banned a protest video! There are no two ways about it. This is exactly how China treats the dissenters!”

    RGNUL CHACHA– I just showed you the ‘second’ way about it in the previous comment. And the staff (China?) entertained the protesters and held a meeting. Cut the staff some slack now, will ya?

    AUTHOR: It’s good that your administration heard the students out. But that doesn’t vindicate their previous act of suppressive censorship.

    About the magnitude of the problem at hand: There was a student protest in RGNUL today. Girl students came in dupattas, others wore black bands.

    RGNUL CHACHA– Which has nothing to do with THIS post. “For the fault of one, please do not punish all” is what was said in the meeting. RGNUL faces more severe issues than this trivial one.

    ADMIN: Passing gag orders against protest videos isn’t a trivial issue. An infringement of your fundamental rights is not a trivial issue.

    “There was a tiff between the faculty and the media.”

    RGNUL CHACHA– And what is wrong with that? The students did not want the media there either. When X amount of effort is required to solve an issue, why put in X+1?

    ADMIN: A ‘tiff’ between the media and faculty is something which suggests that something major (and not trivial) is happening. I spoke of the tiff to drive that point further.

    And an administrator threatened the protesting students with a ‘show-cause’ notice (which means a 1000 rupee fine too).

    RGNUL CHACHA– The students were asked to assemble in the Moot Court hall. There are no two ways about stating a fact. Funnily enough, you find the ‘second’ way here.

    ADMIN: We mentioned that there was a productive session in the moot court hall. But that happened have the ‘threats to show-cause and fine’. But its good that the protests yielded good results.

    PS- Am glad that the students had a ‘productive’ session with the faculty and the registrar where their demands were deliberated upon. Way to go:)

    RGNUL CHACHA: And Lawctopus will lend a hand in encouraging such meetings when it picks the more relevant issues (like the post on the dress code) over the trivial ones for the sake of it.

    ADMIN: Sure. Thank you

  14. RGNUL Chacha says:

    Please justify how this blog post helps the situation, in the light of the following facts:

    1. This issue is an old one. So far as I can remember, this happened in somewhere around late 2011/early 2012. It’s almost 2013 now. It’s over and done with and nobody’s crying over it now except you.

    ADMIN: Why can’t we bring out an old issue up? The gag order wasn’t reported anywhere. And it only shows the ‘authoritarian’ mindset of RGNUL’s administration. If no one’s crying over an issue, why can’t we still bring it up…when it deserves merit…especially when it is an act which is infringing someone’s fundamental rights.

    And this expose is a process: old issues WILL come out. And we’ll continue writing on that.

    2. We at RGNUL already KNOW our voice was suppressed when this happened. Some of us tried to subvert this suppression. Some of us accepted the suppression. Whatever we did, we were fine with it and still are and it was among us. Point in case being that we don’t need you to tell us what’s happening here and what repercussions an incident such as this leads to. So who exactly are you addressing and why?

    ADMIN: You can live with suppression? You are fine with suppression? I am not.

    And am sure there are many students who are not fine with being suppressed. They have put in their comments too and its for everyone to see. There sure are many proactive students at RGNUL who’d want to change this (you clear do not belong to that category).

    Students, of course know whats happening there. They’ve tried changing that in the past too. But the administration came down with a heavy hand every time they tried. In such desperate situations, its important that media does its bit. To ‘name’ and ‘shame’ the administration.

    So why are we doing this? We are doing this as our duty.

    3. The stand of the college authorities, when they took the video down, was that they wished the students had come to them first instead of sensationalizing the issue at large causing mass discontentment, without giving them the opportunity to do anything about it. Now I realize this was not the first time the authorities were prompted to take action against the bad quality mess food, but this brings us to the point of the “ends” we wish to achieve.

    ADMIN: So if the students don’t act in the way the administration wants them to, is the administration correct in passing gag orders? Is that what you are trying to say?

    And this ‘gag order’ is again a symptom of a larger disease: an oppressive, dictatorial administration which grows in power because there is no student representation in decision making.

    4. We, the students of RGNUL, want to have such conditions that bloggers like you who have more time on their hands than they should, don’t get to post the stories that you’ve been posting. (If this sounds offensive then all offense meant and I say that with a pure heart). This is the consensus that was arrived at, in the meeting which took place today. While we appreciate the fact that you did bring some light to the relevant issues, we’re not the most optimistic about the light thrown at it in a public forum like this and the reason is that it’s helpful only to a certain extent and only when the issue raised is highly relevant.

    Secondly, speaking of the “ends” that you want to achieve Tanuj, I feel you’re confused. If what motivates you is bettering things at RGNUL, I would appreciate if you could, without relying on your diplomatic tactics, explain how posts such as this one strictly, help the situation. Because again, we know this happened, we took the action that we were supposed to, we weren’t complaining or regretting about it.

    ADMIN: The administration has been continuing with its dictatorial acts since last 1-1 1/2 years. Students have known about this too. And they’ve taken action too. But the administration has always responded with force, trying to suppress voices of discontent. Here is where media comes into picture. Media’s role as a watch dog; I don’t know why you are not getting it.

    5. I’m not even talking RGNUL caring about you sensationalizing this issue because ‘it spoils the image of RGNUL’. I doubt if such trivial matters would spoil the image or if people would care enough. I am talking about you sensationalizing this issue when your purpose isn’t clear and your ends aren’t defined. The question isn’t “why not”, the question is “why”.

    ADMIN: Why are we doing this: Because I have the freedom to write against an authoritarian, unyielding administration. If it helps students, all the more good.

    –What exactly are you trying to get at, Tanuj bruv?
    –ADMIN: Call me at 08697347535. Maybe we can discuss this on phone.

  15. Please be sensible says:

    Hey come on. Are you telling me RGNUL is the college with administrative problems?? all i am saying is there are other colleges or instance NUJS, GNLU, RMLNLU and student frustration from these colleges have previously been seen in B&B and LI, so why target only RGNUL on such flimsy issues.

    Secondly you do not get my point. Okay lets redo this.

    ‘RGNUL HAS CURBED THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION’

    Very Good. So what happened out of it ??

    two things

    1. People in RGNUL got pissed
    2. Tanuj Kalia got a truncated report in Lawctopus

    Now since we are bothered bout this blog post. (Here comes the fun part) These are the relevent questions!!

    i) How did lawctopus post helped in solving the problems?
    ii) How did lawctopus made the administration bend their ways?

    its your prerogative to answer both if you wish, i cant force.

    From my perspective what have lawctopus done.

    1. Tarnished RGNUL’s image by truncated reporting.
    2. Arbitrary analysis of facts and make a gala gossip out of it.
    3. Taken this a bit too personally.

    PS: Dude, every story has two sides to it. You only know half, not considering the fact that it too is half-baked truth. So stop bringing out such bold heading comparing our college to China or RGNUL, based on 1 email or 4. If you are really interested to make an impact, do proper journalism, which includes, proper ground research, taking to authorities and students and that not only selective ones!!

    PLEASE STOP SENSATIONALISING THIS ISSUE BEYOND PROPORTIONS

  16. Really Tanuj? says:

    Why are you discussing as issue which happened a year back?
    Why don’t you also talk about how your Vice Chancellor is treating you?

    He has been sending letters to your parent on short-attendance? Oh thats so cool. Which other law college does so?

  17. Still Waiting says:

    One thing I’d like to point out is that though the university authority tries to help the kids, to accommodate such diverse categories at times become a little too Utopian

  18. Still Waiting says:

    Seriously want to thank you for your relentless efforts in trying to help us!!!
    We still have a long way to go though…

    A rgnulite

  19. @tanujkalia Thanks

  20. It’s true that Facebook was banned here just after (let’s not arbitrarily assume) the upload of the video, and it could be one of the many reasons why the Administration banned Facebook then, however it was allowed for two weeks in September 2012, after repeated requests by students on the holy day of Teachers’ Day (?). The ironical issue was that soon students themselves wanted Facebook to be banned as it slowed down the Internet speed to a horrid extent and even Google.com required at least 8mins to load. So I think before they accept our terms to unban Facebook, they should seriously consider increasing the bandwidth. And someone please tell us workable proxy sites for Cyberoam wifi system. 😛

  21. Please be sensible says:

    Hey, either you are getting very interested in this because it is drawing traffic to your blog or you are a purely jobless mutt in your fifth year. Either ways its a very sad story right? You know what all this posts of yours is not doing any benefit neither to the college nor to the students.

    to the students: Come on guys this is not helping, this mud slinging in a public forum, it not like this is affecting the authorities much, we are just defaming our college, if we are interested in doing something we should try communicating to the college authorities than this. Stop supplying this guy with our problems!!

    Lastly, if you are bothered about sensational news, why dont you look into some other law school, which has grabbed headlines in todays newspaper or just bother to peek into your own college, as the last post provided how your college mates were discontent with your authorities, why dont you call them Chinese for a change.

    Journalism is good, but this is done with malice to draw traffic and increase income, this journalism is not solving any problem in itself. Please concentrate on what you are good in doing!!

    The reason it is banned is because after the Surana moot, the students and authorities have been to busy to ask them to re-open it, the college have already accepted to open facebook!!

    • administrator says:

      1. You are missing the most important bit here: A protest video by a student was taken down by the administration. Stop. Lets repeat that: A protest video by a student was taken down by the administration. Doesn’t that violate your right to free speech and expression?

      What you’ve mentioned here, is some seemingly factual justification on the banning of Facebook. But what about this gag order? Isn’t this oppressive, authoritarian?

      2. Here is a 101 on how website traffic and revenues work: Lawctopus for now gets around 5000 pageviews a day, 1,50,000 a month.

      With such ‘traffic garnering’ posts we might get 1000 more pageviews/day more for 5-6 days. That makes 1,55,000 pageviews a month.

      That does NOT affect our revenues one little bit.

      Because firstly, its such a slight increase in traffic over a period of 1 month.

      And secondly, we do not place google ads on Lawctopus which pay you per click (and pays peanuts). We have people advertising on Lawctopus (Thomson Retuers, FICCI) and they advertise here because of the popularity we’ve built over the last 2 years and not because of 2 high traffic posts.

      3. And here is how media helps: Media’s role as a watchdog, its very well established! You really missed this?

      RGNUL administration hasn’t been listening to any student demands since the last 1-2 years. Student’ attempts to ‘communicate’ with the administration have been unsuccessful because of the high-handed attitude of the administration. Students tried but failed and had virtually given up.

      Media in such cases can put some pressure on an unyielding administration and get them to act.

      Now the RGNUL administration (I hope) knows that there are forums (yes, banning facebook after a protest video surfaces won’t help) where their misdeeds will not be spared.

      PS- I hear that the administration was receptive to the student demands today. Cheers to that:)

      4. NUJS issues: Regular readers will remember that Lawctopus had conducted an essay competition along with LYF on campus democracy, transparency etc.

      Two of these essays, one on NLIU Bhopal and a second on NUJS Kolkata were published here. Both were severely critical of the two colleges.

      Let me retrieve the essays and put them again (in case you don’t know, we lost around 400 of our posts last month due to a server crash).

      PS- NUJS has nothing to do with Lawctopus. Period.

      5. Targeting RGNUL: It was by chance that we got to know of these ‘notices’. Then some more facts came out, and then some more. We’ll continue putting every such issue here (with proofs).

      Why should we stop? When we know someone is wrong, we’ll continue writing against that someone till we have no more things to write on (we actually have at least 2 more posts on RGNUL lined-up).

      So are we targeting RGNUL? Yes we are, just as we’ll target any college/law school/ which we feel isn’t doing the right things.

  22. RGNUL Chacha says:

    Yet another half-cooked story.

    Facebook was unblocked in this semester upon repeated requests by the students. Then the Surana & Surana Moot took place and due to a shortage of bandwidth, it had to be blocked again for a while. After that due to no reminders to the authorities, it has stayed that way.

    Tanuj, joblessness and gossip-mongering has struck you bad, bruv.

    • administrator says:

      Hi, we’ve confirmed this fact. Facebook is still banned in college.

      Also, what do you have to say about the video gag order? That is an even bigger issue: administration suppressing student voices

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