June 2, 2023

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India’s justification for blocking orders challenged by Twitter in court

This content was published on 07 Jul 2022 – 14:12

New Delhi, July 7 (EFE).- India on Thursday justified its order to block content that Twitter deemed “disproportionate” and filed a petition against it in the Asian country this week, New Delhi in a new episode of tension between the online platform.

Referring to the criticized bans, Deputy Minister of State for Electronics and Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, confirmed that they were “very thoughtful” requests, although “Twitter argues that the process adopted by the government is not in line with what they believe . . . prescribed by law”.

“We don’t do it because we don’t like a tweet or because we’re mad at a person on Facebook,” he said.

On Tuesday, Twitter appealed in the high court of the southern state of Karnataka against several orders issued by Indian authorities to block content and entire accounts.

In its request, according to sources, Twitter pointed out that some of these bans are “excessive and arbitrary” and some may refer to “political content posted on official accounts of political organizations.”

The appeal has been filed in the courts after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology sent a letter to Twitter last June.

Chandrasekhar acknowledged that the company may seek judicial review of the orders, though he noted on Twitter last Tuesday that all platforms “have a clear obligation to comply with our laws and regulations.”

Last year a new law came into force in India called the Guidelines for Intermediaries, which mandates the prompt removal of any illegal content and helps investigate its source.

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One of the points of greatest concern for Twitter is that if it fails to comply with the rules, the US company risks losing the legal protections that come with its status as an intermediary and holding users accountable for the content they post on its site.

WhatsApp – which has about 530 million users in India according to data released by the government – had already shown flouting the regulations last year and sued the Indian executive in court.

The Indian government has been accused of attacking freedom of expression by international organizations such as Amnesty International (AI), and the recent arrest of journalist Mohammad Zubair in 2018 for allegedly offending the religious sentiments of majority Hindus through a tweet he posted. It prompted condemnation from press associations and politicians. EFE


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