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MeitY unblocks VLC Media Player, month after getting legal notice

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has unblocked the website of VLC Media Player, run by non-profit VideoLAN, Internet Freedom Foundation announced on Monday (November 14). This comes a month after VideoLANsent a legal notice to the government regarding the blocking of an URL.

In the legal notice sent to MeitY and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), VideoLAN had demanded a copy of the blocking order issued to ban the URL and an opportunity to defend its case through a virtual hearing when it was banned by the central government.

Telecom operators in the country began blocking VideoLAN’s official website, where it lists links to downloading VLC earlier this year. According to a report by TechCrunch, India is one of the biggest markets for VLC.

To recall, earlier last month, VideoLanissued a legal notice to the Department of Telecom (DoT) and IT (MeitY) over “quietly” blocking its platform. The free and open-source media player was silently banned in the country in February, and the provider describes it as a “violation of international obligations to protect free speech” in India.

“This is particularly shocking to us, since the Government of India itself endorses the use of VLC as a part of its Digital India initiative, where it has endorses the use of VLC as a part of its Digital India initiative, where it has expressed its intention to use open-source software for government applications. In fact, the Government of India also appears to use VLC Media Player’s icon and logo on its website promoting open source softwares,” Jean-Baptiste Kempf, President and Lead VLC Developer of VideoLan said in his legal notice, addressed to DoT secretary K Rajaraman and Rajendra Kumar, additional secretary in the IT ministry, as per a report by Economic Times.

It should be noted that the government did not state a reason behind banning the VLC Media Player app. However, according to a report, VLC download from the official website may have been banned due to some cybersecurity experts saying that a hacker group from China named Cicada used VLC Media Player to deliver malware on systems as part of a cyberattack campaign sponsored by the Chinese government. ABP Live

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