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Twitter in India loses legal shield from prosecution over users' posts
Twitter | India
Image Credit: Unsplash

Twitter in India loses legal shield from prosecution over users' posts

| @indiablooms | 16 Jun 2021, 12:19 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: Micro-blogging site Twitter has lost its legal shield from prosecution over users' posts in India, amid a faceoff with the Modi government over new IT rules, media reports said.

Twitter lost its legal shield for failing to comply with the new rules that require the appointment of key officers based in the country.

"Due to their non-compliance their protection as an intermediary is gone. Twitter is liable for penal actions against any Indian law just as any publisher is," sources told NDTV.

This comes in the backdrop of a case filed in Uttar Pradesh against Twitter over an alleged communal incident, which police claim to be not true.

As it was reported a day ago, an elderly Muslim man was allegedly assaulted by a group of young men, who also cut his beard and force him to chant "Jay Shri Ram" and "Vande Mataram", while he was on his way to to a mosque to offer his prayers.

According to a report, one of the attackers, a young man in white full sleeve t-shirt and blue sweatpants, threatened the victim with a knife which he also used to chop off his beard.

Police have turned down any communal angle to the incident, stating the old man was attacked both by Muslim and Hindu men as they were upset over amulets they had purchased from him.

The police have charged Twitter and several other journalists for allegedly inciting communal tension through posts highlighting the man's claim.

The micro-blogging site has been accused of not removing the "misleading" content linked to the Ghaziabad incident.

Though the Centre said Twitter is the only platform not to comply with the new rules, the micro-blogging site had said it had appointed an interim Chief Compliance Officer and would also share the details with the IT Ministry.

In May this year, Twitter had flagged concerns over freedom of speech in India after its offices were raided in south Delhi and Gurgaon.

In response to Twitter's concern for freedom of speech and expression in India, the ministry had said, "The Government of India respects the right of people to ask questions and also criticise on these social media platforms including on Twitter. The Government equally respects the right of 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 reaction from the government came after a Twitter spokesperson had told media, "Twitter is deeply committed to the people of India. Our service has proven vital for the public conversation and a source of support for people during the pandemic. To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India.

"But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law."

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