Amid a row with Twitter over blocking of accounts, India on Thursday warned social media platforms of strict action for failure to clamp down on inflammatory content, saying they need to completely suits the country’s law.
A day after his ministry rebuked Twitter for not complying with its orders to require down inflammatory content, Information Technology Minister Shankar Prasad said social media platforms cannot give differential treatment while handling problems on Capitol Hill and therefore the Red Fort.
The government, he said, was committed to freedom of media and rights of people but it had been equally concerned about safety, security, and law and order within the country.
“Please don’t spread enmity, violence and misinformation. Please follow the Constitution of India and therefore the law of the land (otherwise we’ll be very strict),” he said replying to an issue in Rajya Sabha.
On Wednesday, his ministry had expressed displeasure at Twitter for failing to get rid of all of the over 1,100 accounts and posts it alleged spread misinformation about the widespread protests by farmers against new agricultural laws.
Prasad said the social media companies took immediate action when riots broke out at Capitol Hill in Washington but ignored similar action when bill protestors ran riot at Red Fort on Republic Day.
“This ethic wouldn’t work here,” he said flagging inflammatory content, especially those with the hashtag of Modi planning farmers’ genocide.
“Yeh kya mazak hai? (What quite a joke is this?),” he said.
The Constitution of India guarantees freedom of speech but Article 19 (2) also says that it’s subject to reasonable restrictions due to the “sovereignty and integrity” of India.