Twitter is being Blamed for Removing Tweets and Accounts Discussing the Kashmir Situation!

It looks like Twitter has finally given in to the censorship demands from the government of India. The microblogging service has been blamed for taking down tweets and even shutting down accounts that discuss the ongoing state of Kashmir.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), its study demonstrated how the freedom of press and free flow of information in the region was being discouraged by the Indian government. The committee also claimed that Twitter has blocked more accounts in Kashmir than in other parts of the world altogether.

The study came into prominence after the lockdown in Kashmir reached its 85th day. For those of you unaware, Indian government has forced a curfew in the region. Because of it, the residents don’t have access to several services (including internet) and facilities.

The curfew was imposed after Article 370 of the Indian constitution was annulled on August 5. Under the said Article, India’s Muslim majority region was given a degree of autonomy. In other words, Kashmir had its own constitution, a separate flag and the power to make laws. Now, a decision to split the region into two territories has been made with the governance power going to Delhi.

During September, it was reported that almost 4,000 people had been apprehended. However, the crackdown on Twitter users began sometime in 2017.

Twitter submitted a CPJ analysis of data to Berkman Klein Center (Harvard University) and the Lumen Project. The analysis revealed that by August 2017, the Indian government had already started sending legal notices to the company about deleting tweets/accounts. Kashmir Narrator’s (a Jammu and Kashmir based magazine) Twitter account was highlighted for “breaking Indian law” in one of the cases by the country’s government. Additionally, Twitter was blamed for disabling access for locals to the magazine’s account.

Human Rights Watch’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth tweeted about the Indian government forcing Twitter to ban commentary and journalism coming from Kashmir.

A Twitter spokesperson said that Twitter believes in free speech and that people have a fundamental right to share things from their own perspectives or points of view, as long as they are following the set policies.

As for the legal requests, the spokesperson added that the company is bound to follow the requests under the local law. It was also said that actions taken are published twice a year in the Twitter Transparency Report for public awareness and disclosure purposes.

Kashmir has been the root cause of animosity between India and Pakistan ever since the two countries became independent. Both countries claim the region as their own and have gone to war three times for this reason.

Read next: 10% of Twitter Users Make All Political Tweets, Research Shows
Previous Post Next Post