Hours after Twitter made a statement about their concern regarding their employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people in India, the Ministry of Electronics & IT lashed out at the microblogging site in a strongly-worded statement.
The central government said that the statements made by Twitter are baseless, false, and an attempt to defame India to hide its own follies.
“The Government strongly controverts the claims made by Twitter today in its press release. 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. Still, it is the commitment of the world’s largest democracy and its robust institutions,” the statement read.
The statement accused Twitter of trying to dictate its terms to the country.
“Twitter’s statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy. Through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter seeks to undermine India’s legal system. Furthermore, Twitter refuses to comply with those very regulations in the Intermediary Guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming safe harbour protection from any criminal liability in India,” the statement further read.
The statement read, “Freedom of Speech and Expression is a Fundamental Right under the Indian Constitution. The Government of India respects the right of people to ask questions and also criticize these social media platforms including on Twitter. The Government equally respects the right to 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.”
The Central government said that Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of the land.
“Law making and policy formulations are the sole prerogative of the sovereign and Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be,” read the statement.
Twitter has claimed that it is committed to the people of India. Ironically, this commitment of Twitter has been mostly invisible in recent times.
The statement further accused Twitter’s lack of responsibility has led to rampant proliferation of fake and harmful content against India and Indians.
The statement added, “Promoting vaccine hesitancy has been rampantly done through the use of the Twitter platform and yet Twitter has taken no action. Is this commitment to the people of India? Discriminatory behavior has been practiced against Indians and people of Indian origin because of malicious tagging of B.1.617 mutant as ‘Indian variant’ name despite strict WHO guidelines against it. Again, Twitter has taken no action against such fake narratives and Tweets while grandiosity claiming to serve the people of India.”
“The Government also wishes to emphatically assure that representatives of social media companies including Twitter are and will always remain safe in India and there is no threat to their personal safety and security, ” read the statement.