The stand-off between the Indian government and Twitter continues to spill on. The Indian government led by Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had asked Twitter to take down around 1,700 Twitter accounts because it felt that these accounts were misinforming the Twitter users about the ongoing farmer protests.
However, while Twitter has suspended – on a permanent basis – certain accounts and has restricted some accounts in India, it has refused to bow down to the Indian government’s demand that other accounts be suspended.
The company has said that the government order isn’t in line with the country’s laws.
Twitter vs Indian government
In a blog post, regarding its decision to only suspend a few accounts, Twitter said, “These accounts continue to be available outside of India.
Because we do not believe that the actions, we have been directed to take are consistent with Indian law”. In total, around 500 accounts have been suspended by Twitter for wrong information. The company, in its statement, added that it had not stopped accounts of journalists, social activists, news portals and politicians as doing so would contravene its policy of free speech, as regulated by the Indian constitution.
“Because we do not believe that the actions, we have been directed to take are consistent with Indian law, and, in keeping with our principles of defending protected speech and freedom of expression, we have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians.
To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law,” said Twitter. However, the Indian government hasn’t backed down either and has sent a legal notice to Twitter. In its legal notice, has threatened to fine Twitter executives and even put them behind bars for a prison term of up to seven years if the company doesn’t comply with its order.
The Modi-led government is facing severe backlash from the farmers’ community and also from the general public for coming up with three new farm bills. The farmers allege that the bills seek to benefit private entities rather than protect their interests.
The government has denied that the farm bills would be disadvantageous to the farmers although the manner in which it passed the bills raised a lot of questions from the country’s opposition parties. Meanwhile farm leaders, social activists and grassroot journalists covering this beat have been majorly using Twitter to put out their reports and dispense information.