Twitter has temporarily blocked critical accounts of the Indian government

On Monday, Twitter temporarily banned India from viewing multiple accounts of activists, political commentators, a popular film star and a top investigative journalism magazine. Caravan, By order of the government of the country. There was one thing in all the accounts – they criticized the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Twitter recovered the accounts more than six hours later, telling government officials that the tweets and accounts spoke for free and that it was newsworthy.

The move comes at a time when India is embroiled in dissent and raises questions about what role American technology companies play there. In the last few weeks, there have been authorities in India Filed A sedition case against prominent journalists for reporting on farmers’ protests challenging the Modi government. On weekends, police in New Delhi, the capital of India Arrest Two journalists, one of whom is still in custody.

Last week, protesting farmers were called to “shoot” Trend for hours On Twitter, police flooded thousands of tweet platforms encouraging brutality.

Some of the most prominent accounts temporarily blocked in the country on Twitter included those who tweeted updates on farmers’ protests in addition to caravans.

“Karwan’s staff thinks Twitter’s decision to block our official account is the latest in a long list of targeted attacks published in the publication to fearlessly follow important stories,” said Vinod K, the magazine’s executive editor. Jose, and one of the journalists who filed sedition charges against him last week, told BuzzFeed News.

After Caravan returned to Twitter, It tweeted“Our accounts have been restored. Today more than ever, it is clear that true media needs true allies. We thank our readers, customers and contributors for their unwavering support.”

In a statement, Twitter said: “Many countries have laws that may apply to the content of Twitter and / or Twitter accounts. In our relentless effort to make our service available to people everywhere, if we get one Request appropriate scope from an authorized entity, May be required to restrict access to certain content in certain countries at certain times. Transparency is essential to protect freedom of expression, so we have a notice policy for withheld content. Upon receipt of a request to withhold content, we will immediately notify the affected account holders (unless we have received a court order under our seal, we do not prohibit that).

According to the agencies, Twitter has blocked tweets and accounts in the United States if it receives “a valid and properly scope request from an authorized entity”, Website. These Tweets or accounts are usually visible in the rest of the world. The company says it immediately notifies affected users unless we are prohibited from doing so, and publishes requests. Lumen, Harvard University Project

But those whose accounts were temporarily blocked in India said Twitter had not notified them before taking action.

“They did not contact me before taking action against my account,” said Sanjuk Basu, a political commentator whose Twitter budget was not kept on Twitter.

Jose said he did not notify Twitter Magazine before the account was blocked, and only heard from the company an hour after the block. “Twitter did not disclose where the legal removal claim came from,” he said.

BuzzFeed News learned that the legal order came from India’s IT ministry under A Chapter The law allows the government to order the removal of content that is considered a threat to national security and prevents organizations such as Twitter from disclosing information about an account or a tweet block. The information ministry declined to issue an official statement.

Twitter confirmed that the instructions came from India’s information ministry, but said it would not upload to the lumen database because the accounts had been blocked.

The organization finds itself caught between local law and global human rights standards.

“Internet platforms need to ensure that any action taken in response to a government order to remove content respects international human rights law standards,” said Ron Jeet Singh Chima, Senior International Consultant and Asia Pacific Policy Director at Access Now, a non-profit Internet advocacy firm in BuzzFeed. Told the news. “They should compete over orders onboard, or try to suppress media agencies explicitly from reporting.”

This could mean, even temporarily, taking steps that seem unimaginable in other countries – actions that have led to intense criticism.

“Can you get a New Yorker or Atlantic account yoked after a brief Twitter legal letter?” Tweeted Nicholas Dawes, executive editor of City and former director of Human Rights Watch. “It may be difficult to apply human rights-based standards for global content integration, but it is a task for them to sign up.”

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