How a Judge in India Prevented Americans From Seeing a Blockbuster Report

“the news agency Reuters published an eye-opening cybersecurity investigation bylined by Washington-based reporters and full of news of interest to Americans. But Americans aren’t allowed to read the story anymore — by order of a court in India.
It’s a disturbing turn of events that couldn’t have happened in the pre-internet era, when publishing — and censorship — were largely local affairs.”

““If you are the Iowa Daily Beagle, and you publish a story that upsets some company in India, that company can go to an Indian court and get whatever injunction they want,” said Charles Glasser, who spent 12 years as the global media counsel for Bloomberg News and is the author of a book on international libel law. “But if the Iowa Daily Beagle has no assets in India and does no business in India, they can’t do much. It becomes more of an issue for international publishers, like Reuters. They certainly have resources there, and they are subject to the jurisdiction of the Indian court.”

Of course, Glasser notes, publishers have the ability to geofence content, making it so that an American reader can access a certain page while an Indian reader cannot. But that can backfire. Particularly in a country with historic reasons to be prickly about Western condescension, a judge is likely to take it as a sign of disrespect if an order is ignored beyond the border — not a good move if you are facing trial.

The upshot: Readers in America, where prior restraint is forbidden and where courts won’t enforce foreign rulings that violate the First Amendment, are blocked from reading a story based on a legal complaint that would be tossed out of most American courts.”