Right to Blog for Awareness
The members of the "Bloggers of Bangalore" community would like to bring to the attention of the media and society at large, certain unfair and intimidatory actions undertaken by the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) against members of the Indian blogging community.
In June 2005, JAM, a popular youth magazine published out of Mumbai, ran a story on IIPM titled 'The Truth about IIPM's Tall Claims' pointing out blatant exaggerations in the institute's claims about infrastructure, courses, affiliations and placements. For instance, the magazine article pointed out how IIPM continues to use certain rankings conferred upon it AFTER those rankings have been withdrawn by the bodies conferring them.
The magazine ran an ethically researched investigative story on IIPM, revealing what was a marketing fraud by the college.
Alongside, the editor of JAM magazine and a former student of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, who is also a blogger, published the same on her personal blog. In August 2005, blogger Gaurav Sabnis, another Mumbai-based blogger, posted about this on his own blog, linking to JAM's original story. Soon after this, he received an e-mail from the IIPM legal department threatening to sue him for a huge sum of money unless he withdrew his comments. Simultaneously, he was also pressurised by IIPM through his employers, a global hardware manufacturer. Rather than put his employers in a tight spot, Sabnis decided to quit his job.
The mainstream media has picked up on this issue and the stories are available at the links provided below.
This issue has created a furore in the blogosphere in India as well as internationally. The strength of blogging as a force to reckon with has previously been seen in the co-ordination or relief efforts in the Tsunami crisis and the Mumbai rains at Mumbai Help and Cloudburst Mumbai.
For detailed information on the bloggers vs IIPM issue, please visit Desipundit for chronological updates on the controversy.
The purpose of this petition is to express solidarity with the bloggers who have suffered threats and abuse at the hands of IIPM and also to draw attention to the original issues at the heart of the JAM story on IIPM.
If you believe that journalists and the media should be free to inform the public of false advertisement which directly or indirectly affects their lives;
If you believe education should not be reduced to a marketable commodity;
If you believe that blogging is a powerful supplement to traditional media;
If you believe that bloggers should be entitled to individual opinions as also their own online space for airing and discussing these opinions;
If you believe in standing up for your rights; as an active member of society, as a blogger, as a citizen with the right to know
Please show your support to this cause.