After initially blocking the accounts, Twitter overturned its decision, saying the tweets constituted free speech and were newsworthy. In response, the IT ministry ordered their blocking again. “Twitter is an intermediary and they are forced to obey the instructions of the government. Refusing to do so will result in criminal action, ”he told Twitter in a notice. He added that the hashtag was used to “abuse, inflame and create tension in society for unfounded reasons”.
– Rihanna (@rihanna) February 2, 2021
Caravan, who didn’t use the hashtag, said he’s just doing his job. “We don’t understand why suddenly the Indian government feels that journalists shouldn’t be talking about all sides of an issue,” said editor Vinod K. Jose. BuzzFeed News. “This is really problematic,” added Internet activist and MediaNama editor Nikhail Pahwa.
Modi’s government has also been angered by Western celebrities, including Rhianna and Greta Thunberg who tweeted their support. Some Modi supporters took offense to the tweets, most notably Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut. “No one is talking about it because they are not farmers, they are terrorists trying to divide India,” she wrote.
The latest development means that Twitter, once again, must choose to either protect its employees and business interests, or be accused of contributing to censorship in a volatile political situation. However, it may be compelled to comply due to IT laws of India which require social media platforms to remove “any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any IT resource” which could affect ” public order”.