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Twitter temporarily blocked accounts criticizing the Indian government

Twitter temporarily blocked accounts criticizing the Indian government

On Monday, Twitter temporarily banned Indians from viewing accounts belonging to activists, political commentators, a popular movie star, and leading investigative news magazine “The caravan, According to the order of the national government. All the claims have one thing in common-they have been criticizing India’s Indian nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi. More than six hours later, Twitter restored these accounts and told government officials that these tweets and accounts constituted freedom of speech and had news value.

This move came as India cracked down on dissidents and raised questions about the role of American technology companies there.In the past few weeks, Indian authorities Archive Cases of incitement against famous reporters reporting farmers’ protests against Modi’s government. Last weekend, the police in New Delhi, the capital of India, Arrested Two journalists, one of whom is still in custody.

Last week, called for “shooting” against farmers Trend for a few hours On Twitter, thousands of tweets encouraging police brutality flooded the platform.

In addition to Caravan, some of the most famous accounts that Twitter temporarily blocked in the country include those that post updates on farmers’ protests on Twitter.

“Caravan’s staff believe that Twitter’s decision to close our official account is the latest in a long series of targeted attacks on this publication, which are published in order to pursue important stories fearlessly. “The magazine’s executive editor Vinod K. Jose and a reporter who filed charges of sedition against him last week told BuzzFeed News.

After the caravan returned to Twitter, It tweeted, “Our account has been restored. Today it is clearer than ever that real media needs real allies. We thank our readers, subscribers and contributors for their unwavering support.”

Twitter said in a statement: “Many countries have laws that may apply to the content of tweets and/or Twitter accounts. As we continue to work hard to provide our services to people around the world, if we receive Appropriate scope request from authorized entity, It may be necessary to block access to certain content in certain countries/regions from time to time. Transparency is critical to protecting freedom of speech, so we have a notification policy for concealed content. After receiving a request to detain content, we will immediately notify the affected account holder (unless we are prohibited from doing so, for example, we receive a stamped court order). “

According to the company’s statement, if Twitter receives “a valid and appropriate request from an authorized entity,” it will withhold tweets and accounts, including in the United States. website. These tweets or accounts are usually visible elsewhere in the world.The company stated that it “will notify affected users immediately unless we are prohibited from doing so” and will post the request on lumen, A project of Harvard University.

But those who have temporarily blocked their accounts in India said that Twitter did not notify them before taking action.

“They didn’t get in touch with me before taking action on my account,” political commentator Sanjukta Basu told BuzzFeed News.

Jose said that Twitter did not notify the magazine before blocking the account, and only received news from the company an hour after the blockade. “Twitter did not disclose the source of the legal removal request,” he said.

BuzzFeed News understands that the legal order comes from India’s IT Ministry section The law allows the government to order the removal of content deemed a threat to national security and prevents companies such as Twitter from disclosing information about blocked accounts or tweets. The IT department declined to issue an official statement.

Twitter confirmed that the order came from the Indian IT department, but said it would not upload the order to the Lumen database because the account has been unlocked.

The company found itself caught between local laws and global human rights standards.

“Internet platforms need to ensure that any actions they take in response to the government’s order for content removal comply with international human rights law standards,” Raman Jit Singh Chima, senior international consultant and Asia Pacific policy director at the non-profit Internet advocacy organization Access Now, told BuzzFeed news. “They should challenge excessive orders or orders that explicitly try to suppress media organizations from reporting.”

This may mean that, even temporarily, taking actions that are unthinkable in the eyes of other countries-actions that lead to sharp criticism.

“Can you imagine @twitter deleting the New Yorker or Atlantic account immediately after receiving a legal letter?” Tweet Nicholas Dawes is the executive editor of New York City and the former director of Human Rights Watch. “It may be difficult to apply human rights-based content review standards globally, but this is what they signed up for.”

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