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Govt ‘Notice’ to Twitter on Unblocking of Handles, Warns of Action

“The impracticability or disproportionality of the said measure cannot be decided (by) Twitter,” the notice said.

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India
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The IT Ministry has issued a notice to Twitter on Tuesday, 2 February, for "non-compliance of directions" issued under Section 69A of the IT Act with regard to orders for removal of accounts related to the hashtag "farmer genocide".

On Monday, Twitter had restored several accounts including those of The Caravan, Kisan Ekta Morcha and CPI(M) leader Md Salim after withholding them for nearly six hours on the Centre’s directive.

Earlier, news agency ANI, quoting sources, had said the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) had directed Twitter to block around 250 tweets/Twitter accounts, which the government claimed were using #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag and making fake, intimidatory and provocative tweets on 30 January.

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“It may be noted that the impracticability or the disproportionality of the said measure cannot be decided (by) Twitter which is an intermediary bound by the orders of the central government,” the notice by the IT ministry reportedly said.

The action came amid massive protests by farmers on the borders of Delhi against the three contentious farm laws.

What The Notice Said

“This a is motivated campaign to abuse, inflame and create tension in society on unsubstantiated grounds. Incitement to Genocide is Not Freedom of Speech; It is Threat to Law & Order. Delhi had witnessed violence on Republic Day,” said the notice.

“Government notice quotes over half a dozen Supreme Court judgements including that of the constitutional bench as to what is public order and what are the rights of the authorities. Twitter being an intermediary is obliged to obey the directions as per satisfaction of authorities as to which information content will arouse passion and impact public order,” said the notice.

“Twitter cannot assume the role of Court and justify non compliance,” added the notice.

The notice asked for the immediate blocking of 257 Twitter handles and 1 hashtag under section 69A of the IT act, 2000 and Rule 9(1) of the IT Rules, 2009 and stated, “The accounts are spreading misinformation about the protests and has the potential to lead to imminent violence affecting public order situation of the country.”

“You are aware of the prevailing situation, which not only has the potential, but has in fact, resulted into a major public order issue on 26.01.2021 (violence during the farmer tractor rally on Republic Day). The statutory authorities are doing everything possible to ensure that no adverse public order situation takes place and no cognizable offences are committed,” the notice said.

"The competent authority is satisfied that it is necessary and also expedient in the interest of public order and also for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to public order that Twitter, as an intermediary under section 2(1)(w) of the act is once again directed to block for access by the public, the said Twitter handles and also the said hashtag with immediate effect,” stated the order.

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Topics:  Twitter   tweets   The Caravan 

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