Government of India’s warning to Twitter by referring to the Ghaziabad case- The government of India’s attitude towards Twitter has become more strict. Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Twitter presents itself as a “flag-bearer of freedom of expression” but chooses to go non-adherence to intermediary guidelines. He expressed surprise at this stance. Prasad gave the example of the incident in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh and said that the arbitrary attitude of Twitter came to the fore in the fight against fake news.
Prasad cautioned that ‘if any foreign institution thinks that it will save itself from obeying the law by showing itself as the flag bearer of freedom of expression in India, then such efforts are in vain.’
‘Twitter surprised by not taking action in cases like UP’
Prasad said that the fact is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from May 26. Twitter was given several chances but it chose not to follow. He said that what happened in UP showed the arbitrary attitude of Twitter in fighting fake news. Twitter has been quite enthusiastic about its fact-checking mechanism, but its non-action in many cases like UP is surprising. This shows that there is instability in its fight against fake news.
‘Twitter does not obey the law, does arbitrariness’
The Union Minister said that like geography, India’s culture is also very different. There are times when a small spark on social media can lead to a big fire. This was the intention behind bringing out the Intermediary Guidelines. He said that ‘Surprisingly, Twitter does not create any mechanism for redressal of users’ complaints under the law here. On top of that, he voluntarily describes the media as ‘manipulated’.
Prasad asked that when Indian companies go for business in other countries including the US, they follow the local laws there. Then why are platforms like Twitter showing so much hesitation in complying with Indian laws?