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Twitter calls out GoI’s new IT rules; MeitY hits back

Indian Government’s Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has hardhandedly responded to Twitter’s statement about Delhi Police’s raid on the social network’s offices earlier this week.

Twitter’s statement called out the raid as “intimidation tactics” that left the company concerned about the safety of their employees in the country and the “freedom of speech” on the platform. 

On Monday, a team of police officers from an anti-terrorism squad visited two of Twitter’s offices based in the Delhi-NCR region. The visit was to serve a notice regarding Twitter labelling several tweets by BJP spokesperson — Sambit Patra — as manipulated media following accusations that the documents posted in the tweets were forged.

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Twitter: IT rules are a potential threat to freedom of expression

In a statement on Thursday, Twitter hit out the government’s use of the police force to enforce “core elements of the new IT Rules”.

The company also expressed concern for its employees in India and the “potential threat to freedom of expression for the people”.

The micro-blogging site intends to advocate for changes to these new regulations, which might “inhibit free, open public conversation”. The company wants to adopt a “collaborative approach” with the Indian government through constructive dialogue. 

GoI condemns the Twitter statement

In response to Twitter, GoI released a statement on Thursday strongly condemning Twitter’s stance on the new IT Rules. MeitY’s press release labels Twitter’s statement as “totally baseless, false and an attempt to defame India to hide their own follies”.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT tweeted it’s statement against allegations by Twitter

The statement also notes Twitter’s failure to set up an Indian grievance redressal mechanism stating that Indian Twitter representatives have to reach out to Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters as they “routinely claim” they have no authority. 

The new IT rules were also staunchly defended in the statement saying that they’ve been finalised after the “widest possible consultations, including representatives of social media platforms”.

MeitY also reports that it had put a draft of the rules in the public domain and invited public comments.

The release also emphatically assures Twitter and representatives of other social media companies that they remain safe in India with no threat to their personal safety and security. 

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