Reuters reports that Facebook and Google this week removed certain religious images from their Indian websites in response to lawsuits making their way through the Indian courts. Since enactment of a law last year making companies responsible for material they post on their websites, Indian plaintiffs have sued Google and Facebook, as well as other internet companies like Microsoft and Yahoo!,  for displaying offensive images of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Muhammad, and Hindu gods and goddesses. In one case, an Indian judge warned that, “like China,” he would order sites blocked if companies did not “take steps to protect religious sensibilities.” Indian free speech advocates have decried the new law and the recent lawsuits, but supporters point to India’s history of sectarian conflict and argue that offensive religious images pose risks to public order.

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