Social media networking site Twitter has said that it would not block accounts of journalists, activists and politicians in India to protect free speech.
This announcement by Twitter comes despite several blocking orders being served to the social media giant by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY).
“We have not taken any action on accounts that consist of news media entities, journalists, activists, and politicians. To do so, we believe, would violate their fundamental right to free expression under Indian law. We informed MeitY of our enforcement actions today, February 10, 2021,” Twitter said in a statement.
“We will continue to advocate for the right of free expression on behalf of the people we serve. We are exploring options under Indian law — both for Twitter and for the accounts that have been impacted. We remain committed to safeguarding the health of the conversation occurring on Twitter, and strongly believe that the Tweets should flow,” Twitter added.
However, Twitter said that it would continue to carry on with its dialogue with the Centre.
“We will continue to maintain dialogue with the Indian government and respectfully engage with them,” Twitter added.
Earlier, the Centre had threatened employees at Twitter with fines and jail terms of up to seven years for restoring hundreds of accounts it has ordered the company to block.
Notably, most of the restored accounts were critical of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Twitter has been served with several separate blocking orders by MeitY under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act. Out of these, two were emergency blocking orders that we temporarily complied with but subsequently restored access to the content in a manner that we believe was consistent with Indian law. After we communicated this to MeitY, we were served with a non-compliance notice,” Twitter said.
“Tweets must continue to flow,” Twitter said.
Transparency is the foundation for promoting healthy public conversation.
Following the reports of violence in recent weeks, we're sharing a granular update on our proactive efforts to enforce our rules and defend our principles in India: https://t.co/ry557Nj94U
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 10, 2021