News site blocked

International News Notes

News site blocked
LONDON — Public access to the website for the U.K.’s leading LGBT news-magazine has been blocked by Virgin Active, a nationwide gym and fitness company.

Pink Paper reported the news on July 2, after being notified their site was censored by a reader and Virgin Active customer.

The company says the website is blocked to protect minors. When trying to access the site on Virgin Active internet services, a user will see an error message explaining why the site is blocked.

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The message reads, “The website you are trying to access has been blocked. Whilst it is not our intention to be ‘big brother’ like, our internet terminals can be used by young children and we have a moral obligation to parents and guardians to ensure unsuitable content is not available via our network.”

A spokesman for the company told the magazine that their filtering service is operated by E-Safe, a division of IBM. “This is not discriminatory practice targeted against Pink Paper,” the spokesperson said.

A request to remove the filter on Pink Paper has been sent to E-Safe, who will “consider the option.”

Sodomy law overturned
NEW DELHI — The High Court here declared India’s anti-sodomy law unconstitutional on July 2. The law, which dates to the British colonial era, punished “carnel intercourse against the order of nature” with sentences up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine.

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The Naz Foundation, an advocacy group, successfully petitioned the court to overturn Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. They argued that the code was used to criminalize consensual adult behavior and that it violated the nation’s constitutional guarantee of personal liberty.

Writing for the court, Justice S. Muralidhar said, “In our view, Indian Constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual.”

According to LGBT journalist Rex Wockner, the New Delhi court decision applies nationwide unless appealed to the Indian Supreme Court. Other sources, however, claim the decision is only binding within the Union Territory of Delhi.

The Times of India reported that the government is unlikely to appeal the case to the higher court, despite receiving pressure from religious groups.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.