Hours after withholding several high-profile left-liberal accounts ‘in response to a legal demand’, Twitter had restored those accounts last night in a clear rebuff to Bharatiya government directives.
The nearly 250 accounts and tweets which were talking about ‘farmer genocide’ using the hashtag #Modiplanningfarmergenocide were withheld for viewers based in Bharat after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) issued directions under Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act to indefinitely withhold the accounts to prevent an escalation of violence.
According to Twitter, company representatives had met with Bharatiya government officials to convey that the tweets constituted free speech and are newsworthy, and hence it had unblocked all the accounts late on Monday.
Even after Twitter said the tweets and accounts were reinstated, the company said the government’s legal demand was valid. It is not clear what action, if any, Meity and the government intend to take after this snub by Twitter.
How can spreading hysteria that the country’s PM is planning a ‘genocide’ of farmers be classified as ‘free speech’?
It is not surprising that as per Twitter’s most recent transparency report, the company has complied with only 13.8% of legal demands between Jan – June 2020 to remove content in Bharat. Clearly, this big tech firm considers its policies and interests superior to Bharatiya law.
But what is intriguing is that Union I&B minister Prakash Javadekar appeared on a news show and claimed that the government had nothing to do with the blocking of these Twitter accounts at all. So is it fair to say that the government did the right thing initially in asking for fake news spreading accounts to be withheld, and now that Twitter has unilaterally decided to reject that request, the government is back-pedalling and claiming that it had nothing to do with all this in the first place? Or is this just a breakdown of communication between Meity and I&B ministries?
Another facet of this episode is that most of the same accounts that were withheld like news magazine Caravan India are also peddling another piece of propaganda that the farmer who died during the protests when his tractor turned over as he was crashing through police barricades, was ‘shot dead’ by police. This lie has been disproved by the doctors who conducted the autopsy on Navreet Singh, yet the likes of anti-Hindu propaganda site The Wire are continuing with the fake news to instigate the protestors against the authorities. UP Police has filed an FIR against several journalists and politicians who have been spreading this fake news.
As expected, Western media has picked up these stories and are projecting them as ‘popular people’s protest’ against the ‘oppressive’ Modi government. The fact that 394 cops were injured and attacked by sword/axe/stick wielding hooligans disguised as farmers, that the tricolor was desecrated and a religious flag hoisted in its place at the Red Fort (place where the nation’s Independence Day is celebrated) has been deftly swept under the carpet.
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