According to a document submitted by the platform on June 26, the government requested that the social media platform Twitter prohibit a number of accounts and some tweets from the advocacy group Freedom House, journalists, lawmakers, and those who supported the farmers’ protest last year.
According to the document submitted to the Lumen database, the requests were sent by the government between January 5 and December 29, 2021, according to Press Trust of India.
The Lumen database receives information regarding websites or accounts that top internet companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been ordered to prohibit by any body in accordance with existing laws.
The database does not, however, contain information regarding whether the request to block a link or account was carried out.
According to a document submitted by Twitter, the social media platform received a request from the government to block tweets from the international advocacy group Freedom House, which carries out research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights, including freedom of speech and expression online around the world.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT did not respond to a question received by Press Trust of India via email.
The paper claims that the government urged Twitter to remove a few tweets from Freedom House that discussed the situation of internet freedom in 2020 and pointed out India as having experienced a dramatic drop in such freedom.
According to the paper, the administration asked to have the tweets of Jarnail Singh, an assemblyman from the Indian National Congress, and other members of the Aam Aadmi Party blocked.
According to Press Trust of India, the government has also asked Twitter to remove the Kisan Ekta Morcha account.
The majority of the tweets and Twitter accounts that were requested to be blocked were visible to users, according to a random examination.
The umbrella organisation of farmers’ unions, Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), expressed strong opposition to the government’s requests for the blocking of tweets from those who supported it in a statement posted on Monday.
“Samyukta Kisan Morcha strongly opposes and condemns the withholding Twitter accounts allied with the farm movement on the instructions of the Union Government. Twitter has withheld about a dozen Twitter accounts in India, including the Twitter handle @kisanektamorcha allied with the Farm Movement, without any warning,” SKM said.
The government’s decision to restrict the tweets of journalists Rana Ayyub and CJ Werleman was denounced by the international organisation Committee to Protect Journalists.
“Twitter complying with the Indian government’s directive to withhold journalist @RanaAyyub’s tweet and block columnist @cjwerleman’s account in India are part of an unacceptable new trend of censorship on social media. This must stop! Journalists’ voices are essential for a democracy,” CPJ Asia tweeted.
Aryan Jakhar works as an Editor-in-Chief at The Shining Media. Also, he is an editor at YouthPolitician (digital media situated in Taiwan). He writes his opinions on social issues at YouthKiAwaaz and also on his blogger website.