Indian censorship is pushing censorship and has asked Twitter to remove 1,178 accounts which the country says are allegedly backed by Pakistan or operated by sympathisers of a separatist Sikh movement, two technology ministry sources said on Monday.
India’s security agencies said some of the accounts were being operated from outside of the country, one of the sources said, declining to be named as the order is not public. The order also involved the Twitter accounts of some supporters of the movement for an independent Sikh homeland called Khalistan.
Many of these accounts were sharing and amplifying misinformation and provocative content on the ongoing farmers’ protests, the source added.
Tens of thousands of farmers have camped on the outskirts of India’s capital New Delhi for months demanding the withdrawal of new agriculture laws.
Twitter has yet to comply with the government order, which was issued on Feb. 4, the sources said as part of a clamped down in international exposure and local Indian censorship.
Twitter blocking accounts of 1,178 farmers
“If the content violates Twitter’s Rules, the content will be removed from the service,” the company said in a statement. “If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in the location only.” Which is still enough for Indian censorship.
The U.S. social media firm also said it carefully reviews legal requests which may be seeking to restrict freedom of expression, adding that it takes extra care to review requests related to journalists or political speech.
Farmers are protesting in demand of the withdrawal of new agriculture laws they say benefit private buyers at the expense of growers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the reforms open up new opportunities for farmers and is pushing for Twitter blocking accounts.
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