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Is VLC Media Player Banned in India?

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VLC Player banned.webp

VLC, one of the most popular multi-media player software and streaming media servers has been banned in India. The popular media player software developed by the VideoLAN project was banned in India nearly 2 months ago.

There is no such official statement from the Indian Government regarding the ban. In the meantime, Indian users can't access the VLC official website but the Android app of VLC is still available on the Google Play store. 

According to the media report, the VLC Media Player was banned because it was used by the China-backed hacking group Cicada for cyber attacks. A few months ago, security experts discovered that Cicada was using VLC Media Player to deploy a malicious malware loader as part of a long-running cyber attack campaign. But on this VideoLAN president denied the claim with the statement-

"Incorrect, Cicada deployed a custom version of VLC which was hacked." "Use VLC from our website and you’ll be safe."

Cyber Kendra finds that the website of VLC Media Player is unreachable, but after refreshing the page 10-20 times, the website is accessible and users can download the setup file of the VLC Media Player. 

President of VideoLAN Comments

VideoLAN president, Jean-Baptiste Kempf commented on the post of the hacker news site, saying-

"President of VideoLAN here: we got banned since a few months, and we don’t know why. (According to my stats, it is since the 13 February 2022).

We’ve asked the Indian government and we got no answer. We probably did not ask the right place though. I wish I knew how to ask properly.

The weirdest is that some ISP are blocking it and some are not. So why is that the case? Are some ISP not listening to the government?

VLC and VideoLAN are quite apolitical (we only fight against DRM and for open source) and VLC is a pure tool that can read anything.

Furthermore, an internet freedom group, Software Freedom Law Center, India had filed a Right-to-Information(RTI) query to know why VLC was banned. The ministry responsible says they have no data on it.

RTI by @SFLCin

The President of VideoLAN asked users to file a grievance report on the Public Grievances website of the Indian Government. Mr. Jean says -

"File your grievance with the section of the government you want to complain to - in this case, I'd guess that's the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology."

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