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Twitter says it will not block journalists, activists and politicians in India to protect free speech

Twitter has told the Indian government that it will not restrict the accounts of journalists, activists and politicians in India, despite receiving orders from the country’s federal government. However, it blocks an unknown number of accounts that are not in these categories from being viewed internally in the country.

In one blog posts announced on Tuesday, the company said that while it has withheld some accounts that the Indian government wants them to block, it will not block others as doing so would violate freedom of expression.

“Because we do not believe that the actions we are instructed to take are in accordance with Indian law and, in order to comply with the principles of the protection of freedom of speech and protected speech, they I have not taken any action against accounts including new media entities, journalists, activists and politicians, ”said the Twitter blog post. “Doing so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to freedom of expression under Indian law.”

Twitter’s post comes amid a struggle with the Indian government, a major market for the company, over account restrictions on the platform. Earlier this month, the company limit people in India view more than 250 accounts in the country after receiving an urgent legal order from India’s IT Ministry. Among the accounts blocked were Caravan, an investigative news magazine; criticized Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; and tweet accounts supporting the farmers’ month-long protest that is shaking the country.

But Twitter restored the account six hours later, arguing with the Indian government that these accounts constitute freedom of expression and notation. In response, the government threatened Twitter officials with a fine and up to seven years in prison for violating its order.

Disagreement with the Indian government has put Twitter in one hard place. Blocking these accounts means facilitating a crackdown against India’s increasingly authoritarian government, dissidents, free speech and press. But defying government means legal consequences.

inside blog posts announced on Tuesday, Twitter said it had taken additional steps such as banning hashtags containing harmful content from the platform, something the government fears would incite real-world violence. during the demonstration and permanently suspended more than 500 accounts for violating Twitter’s rules.

But post Also pointed out that Twitter is seeking legal measures to restore a number of accounts it has restricted in the country.

“We will continue to advocate for freedom of expression on behalf of the people we serve and are actively exploring options under Indian law – for both Twitter and for accounts that have been affected. enjoy, ”wrote Twitter. “We remain committed to the health of our Twitter chats and strongly believe that tweets will come out.”



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