The Twitter accounts withheld included that of Kisan Ekta Morcha, run by farmers protesting India’s new agriculture laws; The Caravan magazine, activists Md. Asif Khan and Hansraj Meena; Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati; Marxist leader Mohammed Salim and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Preeti Sharma Menon.
Most of the accounts that were withheld were tweeting about the ongoing farmer protests.
According to sources close to the matter, the Twitter accounts were withheld due to emergency requests sent by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeiTy). Twitter is contesting these orders, they said.
“Many countries have laws that may apply to Tweets and/or Twitter account content. In our continuing effort to make our services available to people everywhere, if we receive a properly scoped request from an authorised entity, it may be necessary to withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time,” Twitter said in a statement.
“Transparency is vital to protecting freedom of expression, so we have a notice policy for withheld content. Upon receipt of requests to withhold content, we will promptly notify the affected account holders (unless we are prohibited from doing so e.g. if we receive a court order under seal),” it said.