India’s coronavirus epidemic has spiraled out of control and the country’s government is cracking down on social media. On Thursday, the Indian government ordered Twitter to block more than 50 tweets that criticized how it handled the epidemic. Twitter complied, preventing residents of the country from viewing the posts, including a state minister, an opposition member of the Indian Parliament, a filmmaker, an actor, two journalists and several ordinary people.
On Saturday, Twitter released details about the order of the Lumen database, a Harvard University project that keeps track of government removal notices around the world. The news was first published by Indian technology policy website Medianama.
“When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both Twitter rules and local law. If the content violates Twitter rules, Content will be removed from the service, ”a Twitter spokesman told BuzzFeed News. “If it is determined to be invalid in a certain jurisdiction but does not violate Twitter rules, We can be Disable access For content in India only. The company said it had informed people whose tweets were restricted in India and told them that the company was responding to the Indian government’s order.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology did not respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
One of the limitations Tweets Malay Ghatak, the All India Trinamool Congress Minister in the state of West Bengal, where the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently held Huge electoral rally Even millions of Indians have tested positive for Covid-1 for every day.
Ghatak’s tweet criticized Modi for abusing the epidemic.
The government has also restricted dozens of tweets criticizing Modi or sharing pictures of India Overflowing crematoriums and hospitals, In addition Tweets The Indian American Muslim Council, a Washington, DC-based advocacy organization for Indian American Muslims. The group shared a vice story about the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage attended by millions of Indians earlier this month, which turned into a superspreader event.
“While millions of Kovid patients are literally gasping for breath, the government’s honesty on Twitter to block critical tweets in response to the crisis shows that the administration’s ethical compass is pointing in a direction that is shamelessly self-serving,” the IAMC said in a statement.
BuzzFeed News reached out to Ghatak for comment.
Earlier this year, the incidence of coronavirus in India declined and most parts of the country resumed normal life. In early March, India’s health minister said the country was in the “last game” of the epidemic. But the country is now in the grip of a new virus, a second wave caused by religious rallies and electoral rallies. India currently has the highest number of daily infections in the world and its healthcare system has collapsed. There is a lack of medical oxygen, ventilators are hard to find, and vaccinations are running low. According to Johns Hopkins, there were 346,786 new cases in India on Friday and 2,624 people died.
Despite the numbers, Modi continues to hold massive election rallies.
This is not the first time that the Indian government has ordered censorship of Twitter. In February, the company closed more than 250 accounts in India, criticizing the government’s handling of millions of farmers protesting against the new agriculture law. The company later threw a defamatory note blocking the accounts of journalists, activists and politicians despite the Indian government’s threat of jail.