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Twitter vs Govt. of India: Twitter defies banning activists, journalists and politicians

By Prakhar Khanna February 10, 2021, 6:36 am

Ever since the tweets related to farmer protests by celebs, politicians, and more, Twitter has been under scrutiny in India. It recently blocked more than 500 accounts in the country, but many of them were soon restored after a huge backlash on the social app. The government responded by saying if Twitter doesn’t follow its orders, the company will face 7 years of imprisonment. Now, Twitter has released a blog post that provides updates on its response to blocking orders from the Indian government. 

Twitter said in a blog post that it will not block accounts of politicians, journalists and activists in India, despite being ordered to do so by the Government of India. The company noted that in the past 10 days, it had been served with “several separate blocking orders” by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act. “Out of these, two were emergency blocking orders that we temporarily complied with but subsequently restored access to the content in a manner that we believe was consistent with Indian law. After we communicated this to MeitY, we were served with a non-compliance notice,” the company wrote.


Twitter said it believed actions directed by the government for blocking accounts were inconsistent with Indian law.

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.


Meanwhile, the Government of India took to an app called Koo (it’s made in India) where it said, “Upon the request of Twitter seeking a meeting with the Govt., the Secretary IT was to engage with senior management of Twitter. In this light a blog post published prior to this engagement is unusual. Govt. will share its response soon.”


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