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Government bashes Twitter, tells it is time to ‘comply with the laws of India’

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on May 27, 2021 with No Comments

Twitter had said while it will “strive to comply with applicable law”, it planned to ask for changes to “elements that inhibit free, open conversation”.
After Twitter today said it was concerned over the “potential threat to freedom of expression” and “core elements” of the new digital rules, the government retorted that the social media site should “stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of the land” instead of “dictating terms” to the world’s largest democracy.
“Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of the land. Law making and policy formulations is the sole prerogative of the sovereign and Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be,” the Ministry of Electronics and IT said in a detailed takedown, denouncing Twitter’s statement as “totally baseless, false and an attempt to defame India”.

On Twitter’s comment expressing worry about its employees in India after the Delhi Police visited its offices on Monday, the government said it wished to “emphatically assure that representatives of social media companies including Twitter are and will always remain safe in India and there is no threat to their personal safety and security.”
Asserting that India has a “glorious tradition of free speech and democratic practices dating back centuries”, the government said: “Protecting free speech in India is not the prerogative of only a private, for-profit, foreign entity like Twitter, but it is the commitment of the world’s largest democracy and its robust institutions.”

Twitter is trying to undermine India’s legal system by its actions and deliberate defiance, said the ministry, also accusing the platform of muzzling free speech.

“The government of India respects the right of people to ask questions and also criticize on these social media platforms including on Twitter. The government equally respects the right of privacy. However, the only instance of scuttling free speech on Twitter is Twitter itself and its opaque policies, as a result of which people’s accounts are suspended and tweets deleted arbitrarily without recourse,” said the ministry.

The government called out Twitter for not acting against tweets calling an India-dominant strain the “Indian strain” and those “promoting vaccine hesitancy”.

 

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