Twitter Sues Indian Government for Censorship
Messaging service Twitter has started a lawsuit together with some local Indian providers to address the new strict internet legislation in India. That would be an infringement of freedom of expression.
Since the introduction of new, strict internet legislation, Twitter has to take messages offline at the request of the government. However, according to the message service, it is being abused by local rulers. This concerns, for example, messages that criticize government policy, or that support protesting farmers, which should be removed. When a company refuses to delete messages, the directors of the company themselves can be sued.
With its indictment, Twitter now wants the Indian Supreme Court of Karnataka to consider whether some of these requests go beyond the law and whether they are politically motivated. The complaint also comes a week after Freedom House, a US nonprofit, released a report stating that internet freedom in India has fallen sharply in recent years. Twitter would have been asked to remove messages about that report.
Twitter has had several clashes with the Indian government. Earlier Twitter refusals to take content offline have led to searches in the company’s offices. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to increase control over the internet in the country for several years, including by removing critical messages. The new legislation also requires companies to store user data, a reason why several VPN services have since left the country.