The Government of India, today, hit back at social media platform Twitter, accusing the platform of trying to “dictate terms” to the country. In a strongly worded letter today, the government told Twitter to comply with Indian laws and accused the company of spreading baseless allegations through its statement earlier in the day. “Twitter Inc, a USA-based private company, in its communique says that it seeks ‘constructive dialogue’, ‘collaborative approach’ from the government of a sovereign democratic republic to ‘safeguard interests of the public’. It is time that Twitter disabuses itself of this grandiosity and comply with the laws of India,” the government said.
“Furthermore, Twitter refuses to comply with those very regulations in the Intermediary Guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming a safe harbour protection from any criminal liability in India,” it added. Twitter had accused the Delhi Police of using “intimidation tactics” earlier in the day, but said it would comply with India’s IT rules, but it hopes to “advocate for changes” to various elements of the rules.
“The Government also wishes to emphatically assure that representatives of social media companies, including Twitter are and all always remain safe in India and there is no threat to their personal safety and security,” the government said in its statement.
“Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve. We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules,” Twitter had said in its statement.
Speaking about the intermediary rules, and the fact that Twitter and many other social media firms have opposed them, the government said, “These Rules were finalised after widest possible consultations including with representatives of social media platforms. The Ministry of Electronics and IT put the draft Rules in public domain and invited public comments. The Ministry received a large number of comments from individuals, civil society, industry associations and organisations. A significant number of counter comments to these comments were also received. There are also various judicial orders by various courts including the Supreme Court of India directing the Government to take appropriate steps. There are also several Parliamentary debates and recommendations to take appropriate measures.”
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