IT Ministry Issues Notice To Twitter Over Unblocking Of Handles, Warns Of Consequences

New Delhi: The government has sent a notice to Twitter for reinstating a number of accounts that were supporting the farmers’ protests despite the IT Ministry directive to block these and warning it of consequences “of non-compliance of directions issued under section 69A of the Act”, The Indian Express (TIE) reported.

It may be recalled that Twitter had reinstated the accounts on Monday night after blocking dozens of accounts earlier in the day.

The “impracticability or the disproportionality of the said measure cannot be decided (by) Twitter which is an intermediary bound by the orders of the Central Government,” the government said in the 18-page notice.

“Pending our discussions with the regulatory authorities, we temporarily withheld these accounts in India under our Country Withheld Content policy in response to a valid legal request from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. During our subsequent meetings with the officials, Twitter conveyed that the accounts and Tweets in question constitute free speech and are newsworthy. Therefore, these Tweets and accounts have now been unwithheld. Protecting public conversation and Transparency is fundamental to the work we do at Twitter,” TIE quoted sources as saying.

On Monday evening, government sources told TIE that they had not changed their order in the meeting with Twitter. “Yes, Twitter tried to push back against the order, but we have not changed anything. You can’t write that the PM is carrying out a genocide on farmers and get away with it. Twitter needs to implement this. People can’t go on insulting the Prime Minister of the land like this,” said a government source.

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