Twitter Defies Indian Authorities Order, Says It Gained’t Block Accounts Of Flagged Journalists, Activists, Politicians

Top line

Twitter said Wednesday it will not restrict accounts of Indian journalists, activists and politicians, despite an order from the country’s government opening a potentially difficult legal battle with the Narendra Modi-led government that has threatened to insult the company’s executives To bring prison if they fail to comply.

Farmers on tractors on the Ghazipur border during their protest against new farm laws.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Key factors

In a blog post, the company said it had taken action against 500 accounts and reduced the visibility of multiple hashtags in India in response to several instructions from the Indian government’s IT department.

However, the social media giant has decided not to block accounts of news media, journalists, activists and politicians as the company argues it would violate its fundamental right to freedom of expression under the Indian Constitution.

The announcement comes after Twitter recently overturned Twitter’s decision to restrict 250 accounts in the country, including that of investigative news broadcaster Caravan and several critics of the Modi government, who tweeted in support of large-scale protests by farmers across the country against New Delhi had agricultural reforms.

The accounts had been blocked according to a notice from the Indian IT ministry. Following the reversal, the ministry sent another notice urging the platform to re-lock the accounts and threatened the company’s regional executives with legal consequences that could include jail time for non-compliance.

On its blog post, Twitter said the decision to restore the accounts was in line with Indian law despite the government’s orders to block them.

Crucial quote

“At the request of Twitter to meet with the government, the IT secretary should work with Twitter senior management. In this light, a blog post published before this engagement is unusual. Government. will share his answer soon. “The IT ministry responded in a statement about the local micro-blogging platform Koo.

Key background

Twitter emerged at the center of a firestorm in India when the social media platform was used by celebrities, activists, independent journalists and opposition politicians to criticize the government for both the new farm laws and the persistent use of police and paramilitary forces To suppress protests against it. The platform has been criticized by liberal voices and opponents of the government for failing to address hateful content and threats of violence against the demonstrators and those who support them. The government has tried cracking down on multiple Twitter accounts and hashtags allegedly posing a threat to public order and spreading misinformation about the new laws.

tangent

Twitter was home to yet another controversy related to the peasant protests earlier this month after singer Rihanna released a report on the protests asking, “Why don’t we talk about it ?! #FarmersProtest. “The protesting farmers also received support from Meena Harris – author and niece of US Vice President Kamala Harris – climate activist Greta Thunberg and several other celebrities. This sparked an immediate response from the Indian State Department, which the” celebrities and others “advocated for their Criticized comments on the peasant protests, calling them “neither correct nor responsible”.

further reading

Twitter Says It Won’t Block Journalists, Activists, And Politicians In India To Protect Free Speech (BuzzFeed)

Twitter Says It Won’t Block Journalists, Activists, And Politicians In India To Protect Free Speech (TechCrunch)

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