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Parliamentary panel finds Twitter’s explanation on map controversy “inadequate”

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A joint parliamentary committee that is examining the Data Protection Bill, 2019, has expressed its unhappiness over Twitter’s explanation on showing Ladakh as part of China. The committee has unanimously said that Twitter’s explanation is “inadequate” and amounts to a criminal offence punishable with seven years of imprisonment.

Notably, a representative team from Twitter appeared before the parliamentary panel. It clarified on the issues of wrongly showing Ladakh as part of China.

The representatives from Twitter included Shagufta Kamran, senior manager, public policy, Ayushi Kapoor, legal counsel, Pallavi Walia, policy communications, and Manvinder Bali, corporate security.

Officials from the Ministry of Electronics, Information and Technology, and the Ministry of Law and Justice also deposed before the panel.

Criminal offence, says Meenakshi Lekhi

The parliamentary panel’s chairperson Meenakshi Lekhi said that the committee was unanimous in its opinion that Twitter’s explanation on showing Ladakh as part of China was inadequate.

However, representatives of Twitter told the panel that the social media company respects the sensitivities of India, she added.

Also Read: Bihar Election: BJP seeks legal action against Rahul Gandhi for tweet

Meenakshi Lekhi further said: “It is not a question of sensitivities only, it is a matter of India’s sovereignty and integrity, showing Ladakh as part of China amounts to a criminal offence which attracts imprisonment of seven years.”

The controversy

A controversy erupted after the geo-location of Leh, which is the headquarters of the union territory of Ladakh, was shown on Twitter as part of China. Leh is the largest town in Ladakh.

A spokesperson of the social media giant has said:  “The recent geotagging issue was swiftly resolved by our teams. We are committed to openness, transparency around our work and will remain in regular touch with the government to share timely updates.”

Earlier, the Indian government had sternly told Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir are “integral and inalienable parts of India governed by the Constitution of India”.

The government expressed its disapproval of the “misrepresentation of map of India” and asked the company to “respect sensitivities of Indian citizens.”

 

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