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Twitter was asked by the government last year to block several accounts and some tweets by supporters of rights group Freedom House, journalists, politicians and farmers. This information has come to the fore in a document filed by Twitter on June 26. According to the document ‘Lumen Database’, the requests from the government were sent between January 5, 2021 and December 29, 2021.
Major Internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter record information in the Lumen database about weblinks or accounts that have been asked by any entity to block them under applicable laws. However, details are not available on the database about whether any link or account blocking request was fulfilled.
IT Ministry did not respond
According to the document filed by Twitter, Freedom House’s tweets were asked by the government to be blocked. An e-mail sent to the Ministry of Electronics and IT did not elicit any response.
Was asked to block tweets by members of Congress and AAP
According to the document, the government had asked Twitter to block certain Freedom House tweets that talked about the state of internet freedom in 2020. The document revealed that the government had requested to block tweets by members of the Indian National Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, including MLA Jarnail Singh.
According to the document, the government had also requested Twitter to block the account of Kisan Ekta Morcha. A random check revealed that most of the tweets and Twitter accounts that were requested to be blocked were accessible to users.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Monday claimed that Twitter has closed around 12 accounts linked to the agrarian movement on the “instructions” of the central government. The SKM alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Center has “pressurised” the Center to “shut down” these accounts for raising questions on Twitter.
International Group Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the government’s move to block tweets by journalists Rana Ayyub and CJ Verleman. CPJ Asia tweeted, “Twitter is following the Indian government’s directive to block journalist Rana Ayyub’s tweets and blocking the account of columnist CJ Verleman (@cjwerleman) in India as part of an unacceptable new trend of censorship on social media.” It is a part. It must be stopped! Journalists’ voice is essential to democracy.”