UK Prime Minister David Cameron: Stop the unnecessary censorship of "esoteric" websites and web forums!
  • Petitioning David Cameron MP

This petition will be delivered to:

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party
David Cameron MP
Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs
Ms Jo Swinson
MP for Dulwich and West Norwood
Tessa Jowell

UK Prime Minister David Cameron: Stop the unnecessary censorship of "esoteric" websites and web forums!

    1. Jaime Tanna
    2. Petition by

      Jaime Tanna

      London, United Kingdom

Please read this and sign the petition against unnecessary "blanket" web filters that look set to block esoteric websites and web forums here in the UK, according to information obtained by the Open Rights Group.


The Prime Minister recently announced the move to introduce legislation that will force ISPs to create default filters when people sign up for internet services. This is being touted as a move to stop pornographic and extremist material from getting through to end users, including vulnerable children.

Yet, what is extremely worrying, and not yet widely known, is that the Prime Minister's internet filters will be about more than just hardcore pornography.

Open Rights Group, which campaigns for digital freedoms, has had the opportunity to speak to some of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that will be constructing Cameron's content filters, discovering that a host of other categories will be on the block list, including "esoteric material" and "web forums".

This should ring alarm bells for most of us! How can "esoteric material" and "web forums" be grouped with pornography and extremist sites?

These top-level filters will be most likely be linked to a list of keywords - made by the government, of course - and any websites that have any of these keywords will be blocked/banned.

According to Open Rights Group, this list will be created behind closed doors with NO appeal mechanism.

Websites that promote “esoteric practices” whether directly or indirectly, have already been blocked on pay-as-you-go Orange phones.

Users, including myself, have had access denied to alternative belief/spirituality websites whilst using wifi hotspots in public places.

Who will determine what the word "esoteric" means? This is the first question to ask ourselves.

Will websites that mention "spiritual healing" and "reiki" be blocked by default? Will websites that have "pagan" overtones - those which use words like "summer solstice" or "tarot" or "wiccan" - be blocked?

Would the category of eating "raw foods" (there is a big "raw foods" health movement in the USA, for example) be classed as cult-like or "esoteric" material, either now or in the future, and blocked?

These are valid concerns that should not be casually brushed aside. It is painfully obvious that the word "esoteric" is a broad catch-all term/category that is ripe for misuse by our government.

The second question to ask ourselves is why is the word "esoteric" such a problem?

Angela Pritchard, author and researcher into the universal nature of spirituality and consciousness, and co-author of two books on ancient sacred mysteries, says that, "'Esoteric material' which implies all manner of spiritual knowledge and practice, has been lumped in with the worst of human behaviour in this filter—forming one of 9 categories, which includes pornography, violence, and suicide related websites." 

Whilst Angela agrees with the former Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre boss Jim Gamble, who told BBC Radio that it was important to 'get to the root cause' of illegal pornography, she points out that "it is important to get to the root cause of why 'esoteric material' became part of this filter, who was responsible for adding it, what their religious or non-religious affiliations are, and why it has not been addressed publicly by David Cameron? This appears to have been done as a very shady back-door deal indeed between the UK government and large ISP companies."

And even if you don't care much for esoteric, spiritually-based websites, wouldn't you be enormously frustrated if a genuine, helpful online forum that you wanted to visit was blocked, especially if that forum had key advice that could help save a life? Many web forums give key information on sexual health matters, abuse, addiction and so forth.

What if you unchecked the box to opt out of filtering defaults and still couldn't get through to a legitimate site you wanted to visit? Would you be bothered to even follow up with your ISP, especially if you were held in a rather long phone queue? How frustrating!

As a business owner in East Dulwich, South East London, I had a taste of this draconian filtering mechanism two years ago. I went to my local Caffe Nero to have a coffee and catch up on some business administration.

Together with my wife, we run a holistic business which also mentions "Spiritual Healing" amongst other key services such as Reiki, Reflexology, Yoga and Indian Head Massage. I was stunned to find that I could not access my own website as it was blocked. The message on the screen told me it was classified under "Alternative Spirituality/Belief", and access was denied through their web filtering system called "Blue Coat".

I was frustrated, not only because I couldn't access my own website, but because others were also being blocked from visiting a website which did not harm anyone. I eventually managed to resolve the issue but it took time and energy to do so.

Christos, from Greece, had a similar experience five years ago when he went with some friends to MacDonald’s in Camberwell, London in 2008. He says the following:

"We had our laptops with us. When we tried to visit one of the websites that at that time was offering free online courses.... we received the message ”alternative spirituality” and we weren’t able to access it. We were puzzled at the time and surprised. I had just arrived in London and such an attitude did not seem one of a developed country at all."

Personally, I see nothing wrong with seeking to empower others through spirituality, and the ability to respect and honour all people everywhere. Do you?

Mindfulness and spirituality are big buzz words right now, and surely fall into the category of "estoteric".

Wall Street Journal say that top companies are employing spirituality in their vision, so why does Cameron have a problem with it?

“Other companies in the mainstream using Mindfulness include Apple, AstraZeneca, Comcast, Deutsche Bank, Google, Heinz, Hughes, McKinsey, Nortel Networks, Proctor & Gamble, Raytheon, Texas Instruments, Unilever, and Yahoo. They cannot all be wrong, surely?” Wall Street Journal

We can all understand why the government, and parents all over the world, would want to block content that degrades both men and women, and causes hatred in any way - websites such as pornographic websites, or zealous religious bigotry, but to block content that seeks to uplift and inspire others, what kind of message is that giving? That does not make sense to me.

Public figure websites such as the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, and Neale Donald Walsch would almost certainly fall into this category of "esoteric" and "alternative spirituality/belief." The British Society of Dowsers and The London School of Psychic Studies would probably fall into the category of esoteric, and so would many other smaller, well-meaning websites.

I do not want to live in a world where website material that is inspiring and uplifting is banned, whether intentionally, or as the result of passing laws that make access impossible.

I also do not wish to see "esoteric material" or "alternative belief/spirituality" lumped in with pornography and extreme hate. That is a false and most disturbing association, and must be rectified immediately.

Many uninformed people will start to view "esotericism" and "alternative belief/spirituality" as material that is taboo, and will certainly wish to avoid the stigma of being associated with it.

Dara from Sydney in Australia says, "I think the thing that I find the most disturbing though, is looking down the road to the long-term implications. If this legislation passes in the UK, and then other parts of the world, then that means the power exists for any government, or many of them, to completely shut down a chunk of humanity’s access to spiritual material online. And if the power exists, then someday, someone is likely going to use it, to its full extent. That’s why it’s being put in place now, hidden amidst the other issues. The leap from people being completely banned from sharing, viewing, and publishing esoteric material online, to people being banned from sharing and practicing alternative spirituality in real life is not very big. It could happen so easily once the precedent is set."

This issue of default filtering is especially important for us to consider here in the UK, but it really will affect many other people who don't live here.

What if a person travels to the UK for holiday or business, and then can't access websites that they normally have access to, just because David Cameron and his government say so?

The Open Rights Group says that this matter could be easily avoided by simply having an 'active choice' as the ISPs originally suggested with no preset defaults, forcing customers to specify whether they want filters, and what filters exactly.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has repeatedly stated his opposition to the current plans by the UK government to impose "opt-in" web censorship, and he plans to continue advocating against these laws.

Whether "opt-in" or "opt-out" internet censorship happens or not, is up to us.

Whatever happens next, it is my belief, and I hope it is yours too, that "esoteric material" should not be grouped with "pornography" and "extremist" material. Useful "web forums" should also not be blocked, in my opinion.

Please get involved, and help spread the word that this is an important matter, at a crucial juncture in humanity's history.

Let's stand together with one unanmious voice for our right to access content that is helpful and informative. We cannot have this hugely important issue brushed under the carpet under such a pretext.

Please sign, and share with everyone you know.

Prime Minister David Cameron, we are asking you to stop the unnecessary censorship of helpful, genuine, well-meaning "esoteric" websites and web forums, amongst others, so that you do not impinge on the rights of law abiding citizens to free access of information, and to conduct their affairs.

We also ask for clear, transparent communication on this matter, and a promise that ensures that genuine websites and associated businesses will not be harmed by a myopic viewpoint on what is "acceptable content".

Who wants to be dictated to by a Nanny State? I don't.

Jaime Tanna

More links on this story here:

Recent signatures


    1. Cameron refuses to back ban on Sun's Page 3 topless images

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Cameron has said he would never support a ban on topless images on page 3 of the Sun newspaper, despite strong public opinion against it.

      Could he be controlled by groups with their own hidden agendas?! It looks that way!

      Pressed to explain the distinction between his proactive position on online pornographic images and his laissez-faire stance on topless images in newspapers, he said that it was "up to consumers" whether or not they wanted to buy the Sun... yet he wants to control the internet.

      Smacks of a double standard, does it not?!

      The founder of the No More Page 3 campaign, Lucy Holmes, said she thought Cameron's willingness to acknowledge the dangers of online pornography while ignoring the parallel dangers of topless images on page 3 of Britain's best-read newspaper was "peculiar"...

      Cameron replied: "I am afraid I do not agree with her [viewpoint]. It is important that we can read all newspapers on the parliamentary estate, including the Sun."

      Cameron refuses to back ban on Sun's Page 3 topless images

      David Cameron has said he would never support a ban on topless images on page 3 of the Sun newspaper, as he set out plans for greater regulation of online pornography.

    2. Government misses the point - on purpose?

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      The Government has provided the following response to concerns, missing the point entirely!

    3. Reached 40,000 signatures
    4. Liberty waiting to make formal comment

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Liberty is also known as the National Council for Civil Liberties. Founded in 1934, we are a cross party, non-party membership organisation at the heart of the movement for fundamental rights and freedoms in the UK.

      Excerpt from their email to me, received today (12th October 2013).

      "Thank you for your email to Liberty. Apologies for the delay in replying. As you would expect, we are following these developments very closely and will be able to offer formal comment once the Government makes it clear exactly what it intends to do."

      Homepage | Liberty - protecting civil liberties, promoting human rights

      An independent campaigning organisation which works to protect civil liberties and promote human rights in England and Wales.

    5. "Chilling threat" to democracy goes ahead - Gagging Law passed!!

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      I'm sorry to say this but yesterday was a clear sign that democracy is virtually non-existent here in the UK.

      I've just received an email from 38 degrees saying that the gagging law was passed, regardless of widespread public dissent:

      *Over a quarter of a million emails, phone calls and tweets to MPs
      *Over 100 face-to-face meetings with MPs
      *Over £120,000 raised to fund leaflets, adverts and events
      *A brilliant rally outside Parliament, where 38 Degrees members joined supporters of dozens of other groups to stand up for free speech

      I seriously wonder what chance we have to question their agenda to include 'esoteric material', given the total lack of responsibility, and accountability?
      This is NOT good news and doesn't bode well for our future. We are waking up, but are we waking up fast enough?!

      Let's keep spreading the word about the erosion of democracy here, and see if we can't get some much needed accountability!

      Gagging Law 3rd Reading - How all MPs voted

      My MP Tessa Munt voted no for Amendments and yes for the Government Gagging Law passed to the Lords yesterday. She told me that as she was in a special position to affect the Cabinet due to being an inner circle MP she was forced to vote with the Gov or lose that privilege.

    6. Read these responses from two very different MPs

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      "Two politicians, two very different responses when contacted on their view about the impending UK censorship of esoteric material.

      The response on the left is reflective, logical and inspiring! It’s awesome to see that at least one person in the government is fighting for us! And if there is one, there must be more who will do the same!

      The response on the right is a brush off, indicative of what is wrong with the government these days. This is what we’re going to have to overcome as we move forwards."

      David Gardner

      Wake up. Be Free! | United against esoteric material censorship

      Two politicians, two very different responses when contacted on their view about the impending UK censorship of esoteric material. The response on the left is reflective, logical and inspiring! It's awesome to see that at least one person in the government is fighting for us!

    7. Read this reply from Maria Miller MP - A polite brush off?

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Have just received this reply from Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, which I've posted on "United Against Esoteric Material Censorship" here:

      Matija Miloš made the following astute observations: "It's Article 9 for freedom of religion, not 8. And while human rights are subject to limitations, it is not the case that every legitimate restriction is necessary. The letter, intentionally or not, conflates the two. Also, I don't think it's right that the government delegates the power to determine to content of filtered categories to a private company and then merely asks them to 'progress the issue'.

      After all, if I'm not mistaken, the Council of Europe recommends that states take measures to prevent Internet censorship both by public authorities and private companies. The suggested Internet filters do not appear to provide sufficient safeguards."

    8. Reached 20,000 signatures
    9. MPs trying to rush through a Gagging Law! How long before we follow China?!

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      It is time to realise that censorship must not be tolerated. Governments, sadly, only care about controlling the people. That has always been their primary objective.

      The cost is too high to bear.

      16-year-old detained for being retweeted 500 times

      In the first case of its kind, a teenager has been arrested after a post of his regarding a suspicious death on microblogging service, Sina Weibo went viral, Beijing Times reports. Here's the back story behind the tweet: A man was found dead outside a karaoke bar in Zhangjiachuan County, Gansu Province on September 12.

    10. Reached 12,500 signatures
    11. Good news - finally! The Lib Dems Reject Illiberal Porn-blocking Plans

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Members of the Liberal Democrats have voted against government plans to force ISPs to block pornography and other content as a child protection measure.

      Read more: Lib Dems reject "illiberal" porn blocking plans | News | PC Pro

      Lib Dems reject "illiberal" porn blocking plans

      By Nicole Kobie Posted on 16 Sep 2013 at 09:55 Members of the Liberal Democrats have voted against government plans to force ISPs to block pornography and other content as a child protection measure.

    12. Do you really trust the UK government's plans?

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Here are 10 disturbing facts about the mainstream media.

      I find it interesting that Prime Minister David Cameron appears here, linked to the Sun's former editor-in-chief (and CEO of News International) Rebekah Brooks.

      10 Compelling Reasons You Can Never Trust The Mainstream Media

      A poll last year showed that trust in the mainstream media is increasing, which should worry all of us who value truth, integrity and press freedom. Why? Here are 10 disturbing things everyone needs to know about the global media giants who control our supply of information, wielding immense power over the people- and even over the government.

    13. Great new infographic - please share with others!

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Check out this great infographic which sums up the ramifications of the government's plans for censorship at the end of this year!

      Infographic: UK Filter to Block 'Esoteric Content' - Worldwide Implications

      The UK government has announced web-filtering plans which will block 'esoteric material' from UK internet users by the end of 2013. This censorship has worldwide implications and needs to be stopped.

    14. Reached 10,000 signatures
    15. Corporate press is only trusted by 23 percent of the public

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      There is a 'Global Political Awakening' happening today, as a direct result of our spiritual awakening.

      Former US National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski commented on the growing inefficiency of war due to the increased political knowledge of the public.

      During a 2010 Council on Foreign Relations speech in Montreal, he blatantly said the following:

      “[The] major world powers, new and old, also face a novel reality: while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people."

      This is why governments will do anything to stop "alternative media" sources, and now want to clamp down on "esoteric material" also.

      Brzezinski: 'Global Political Awakening' Making Syrian War Difficult

      During a short interview with Germany's DW News last Monday, former US National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski commented on the growing inefficiency of war due to the increased political knowledge of the public.

    16. Conspiracy or reality?

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Freedom of speech is not something politicians want us to have... we will need to fight to keep it. They will use every trick they have, including passing false laws in the name of "protecting the people", to prevent us having a real and open dialogue.

      "Alternative", "spiritual", "esoteric"... call it what you will... those categories are all under threat.

      Establishment trying to silence alternative media

      If there is one thing the powers-that-be do not like it's citizen journalism and the alternative media and currently proposed Senate legislation aims to ultimately destroy it. Thursday's remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein reiterate just how desperate they are at accomplishing that goal.

    17. What is the price of telling the truth? A tribute to Whistleblowers

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PRICE OF TELLING THE TRUTH in a society where telling lies seems to bring the most benefit?

      Not benefit to the majority, mind you. Only benefit to the MINORITY - lead by a few selfish individuals who have very narrow ideas of "what works" in society.

      Energy Therapy: The Joy of Living Consciously

      WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PRICE OF TELLING THE TRUTH in a society where telling lies seems to bring the most benefit? Not benefit to the majority, mind you. Only benefit to the MINORITY - lead by a few selfish individuals who have very narrow ideas of "what works" in society.

    18. Time to WAKE UP! Censorship has been silently creeping into our society!

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      "A few years ago while living in Glasgow I attended a Photoshop workshop at the local college. One evening I thought of checking the new design for Osho in UK, a website I was running together with Veena at the time. At college we had Macs so that would have been an opportunity to check it on this platform. And what was my surprise? The website was blocked! I can understand that it would be inappropriate to watch porn in College, but OSHO?

      Now it appears that a block on alternative religions, minority groups and healing systems will be put in place, preventing people from visiting such websites! This is a manipulation of the highest order, with the very weak argument to protect children from pornography. It is absolutely unacceptable that a government controls the very people who voted them into power and does not allow them to preserve their rightful freedom to read and watch what they want."

      Extract from article on OSHO NEWS.

      Stop Censorship of Esoterica and Spirituality

      An alert from and which concerns us all! is a 25-million-person global campaign network that has alerted the world about the UK's incredulous attempt to filter out websites with 'esoteric material'. A few years ago while living in Glasgow I attended a Photoshop workshop at the local college.

    19. Message David Cameron NOW! Use the No. 10 web form - sample letter here

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Dear Prime Minister,

      It has come to my attention that "esoteric material" and web forums are to be included in the legislation which will block online pornography and extremist content in the UK by the end of this year.

      If this is true, I would certainly like to know why, as well as why the public have not been informed?

      Most "esoteric" material refers to spiritual websites that serve the greater good of humanity, and aim to uplift and inspire people to improve their lives.

      I find it entirely unacceptable of the UK government to censor this material.

      I am very concerned that in addition to preventing the citizens of the UK from accessing spiritual content online, this will also set a bad example to other democratic countries.

      On behalf of thousands of other concerned people, please stop the censorship of esoteric websites and web forums.

      I look forward to hearing back from you as a matter of urgency.

      Yours sincerely,


    20. Related Topic: "Gagging Law" being rushed through by the UK Government!

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      The same government who wants to "protect the children" online is currently under fire for trying to implement a 'gagging' legislation to stop charities, NGOs and other third party organisations speaking out on vital issues before an election.

      It is, in short, another serious threat to our freedom! You can learn more by listening to this video by 38 degrees.

      Do you really trust this government's plans for default filtering?

      When you add up all that is currently happening - it only points to one thing. The issue of controlling what information the public have access to.

      Stand up for your rights before your FREEDOM is lost!

      What is the Gagging Law?

      A short film explaining what the government's gagging law is all about and why it's bad for democracy. Featuring 38 Degrees, Guido Fawkes, Friend of the Earth, Baston Legal & HOPE not hate. To find out more please visit or search #gagginglaw on social media

    21. David Cameron eyes Human Rights Act repeal

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer
      David Cameron eyes Human Rights Act repeal

      Britain needs to look at scrapping the Human Rights Act, David Cameron has said. The prime minister's comments are his strongest signal that he will promise to ditch the legislation in the next Conservative election manifesto. Speaking in Lancashire on Thursday, Cameron also suggested the Liberal Democrats had been blocking Tory moves to abandon the legislation.

    22. Have contacted Liberty who protect civil liberties and promote Human Rights

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Have now contacted Liberty here, who deal with Human Rights issues. Let's see what they have to say about Mr Cameron's plans?

      Homepage | Liberty - protecting civil liberties, promoting human rights

      An independent campaigning organisation which works to protect civil liberties and promote human rights in England and Wales.

    23. Censorship happening everywhere!!

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Whilst not directly related... you may wish to read about this! It seems that, alas, censorship is everywhere - those in power do not want "radical" ideas spreading, whether that is "esoteric material" or the new science that speaks about "consciousness".

      Excerpt: "While TED is positioned as trendy and cool, it's actually just another vehicle of idea suppression that has joined with other dark forces which are attempting to keep humankind ignorant of the reality of consciousness, free will, spirituality and the fact that our cosmos is far more than physical "stuff." TED gladly features scientists who unveil technologies that will be used to enslave humanity, but the organization doesn't want you to hear about advances in understanding that can set you free."

      Learn more:

      TED talks now routinely censoring scientists who share ideas on consciousness

      (NaturalNews) The "TED talks" organization, once founded on the idea of spreading good ideas, has become the new priesthood of status quo dogma. The TED organization doesn't want you to hear the really important, breakthrough advancements in scientific thinking, and to enforce that intellectual ignorance, it has resorted to censoring and suppressing two of the most important scientists our world has ever produced.

    24. TWEET DAVID CAMERON & JO SWINSON NOW! (Just copy/paste the tweet below!)

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      Please STOP unnecessary censorship of esoteric material & web forums! #censorship @David_Cameron @joswinson

    25. Win for People Power in Australia! Can we do the same here?!

      Jaime Tanna
      Petition Organizer

      In Australia, just two days before the upcoming election the Liberal-National Coalition revealed they would introduce an internet filter styled on the UK censorship model if elected. They buried this announcement in a “safety policy” PDF.

      After just ONE DAY of public outcry they backed down claiming the web filter policy was an “error”.


      See the full report here exposed by ZDNet:

      (Many thanks to the FB group "Stop UK Censorship of Esoteric Material and Spirituality" for this update).

      Australian opposition vows to implement internet filter by default

      Summary: The Coalition will require ISPs and mobile telcos to filter internet services by default unless a user opts out of it. UPDATE: After this story was published, the Coalition changed its policy on the default opt-out internet filter. Read more here.


    Reasons for signing

    • marc lohman ENSCHEDE, NETHERLANDS
      • 3 days ago

      No censorship by governments or states!

      • 4 days ago

      Freedom to do what I want....There is no danger to anyone with being Spiritual...So why should any government stop me visiting these sites.

    • Joao Paulo Andrade Pereira SãO PAULO, BRAZIL
      • 6 days ago

      It's unbelievable that even our Spirituality could be censored!!!

    • anamaria mihalca VANCOUVER, WA
      • 6 days ago

      Censorship is wrong, ,

    • Jordan Kraus-Harvey READING, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 7 days ago

      Censorship of the internet would lead to the death of the freedom of information within the UK. How can we be expected to make informed decisions, when the information that we would have access to would be restricted. It is the first step down the road to government censorship of the information that we access, not to mention the death of liberty. Furthermore the data that the government and the ISPs would then have access to with the 'opt out' scheme would permit them to perform personal profiling of the inhabitants of the UK, and thereby leading to unfair targeting and targeted campaigns.


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