After Twitter raised concerns against the Centre’s new digital rules citing “potential threat to freedom of expression and the use of intimidation tactics by police, the Union government has hit back at the social media giants.
In a clear message, the government severely criticised the remarks made by the microblogging website and asked it not to beat around the bush and comply with the laws of the land. The government said that Twitter is just a social media platform and it cannot dictate what India’s legal policy framework should be.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT hit out at the social media giant saying its statement is “totally baseless, false and an attempt to defame India.
Scathing attack on Twitter
In a scathing attack on the social media giant, the Centre said, “The government of India respects the right of people to ask questions and also criticize on these social media platforms including on Twitter. The government equally respects the right of privacy. However, the only instance of scuttling free speech on Twitter is Twitter itself and its opaque policies, as a result of which people’s accounts are suspended and tweets deleted arbitrarily without recourse.”
“India has a glorious tradition of free speech and democratic practices dating back centuries. Protecting free speech in India is not the prerogative of only a private, for-profit, foreign entity like Twitter, but it is the commitment of the world’s largest democracy and its robust institutions,” the government said.
Press Release by Ministry of Electronics and IT in response to the statements made by Twitter Inc. pic.twitter.com/hQxCGuoEaG
— Ministry of Electronics & IT (@GoI_MeitY) May 27, 2021
What Twitter had said
Earlier during the day, a Twitter spokesperson said, “Twitter is deeply committed to the people of India. Our service has proven vital for the public conversation and a source of support for people during the pandemic. To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India. But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law.”
“Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve. We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules.”
“We plan to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation. We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian government and believe it is critical to adopt a collaborative approach. It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public.”
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