Twitter blocked access to four more accounts in India, including that of Indo-Canadian pop singer Jaswinder Singh Bains or JazzyB based on a request made by the government of India on June 6, under the Information Technology (IT) Act, the micro-blogging disclosed on Lumen Database.
Though Twitter did not disclose as to why the access to these accounts were blocked in India, sources indicated that the action has been taken due to the singer’s tweets supporting the farmer protests in India.
On January 31 this year, the government had for the first time sent Twitter a list of 257 accounts, which it wanted to be blocked in India. These accounts, the government had then alleged, been “spreading misinformation” about the farmer protests, which had the potential to “lead to imminent violence affecting public order situation in the country”.
The January 31 notice had said these handles had been “spreading misinformation” about the ongoing farmer protests, which had the potential to “lead to imminent violence affecting public order situation in the country”.
Twitter had then responded by blocking some of the accounts but had also subsequently unblocked these accounts, which had irked the IT Ministry. Later in its reply, Twitter refused to block these accounts further citing freedom of speech on its platform. The reply, however, had not gone down well with the government, which had said that the platform could not possibly “assume the role of a court and justify non-compliance”.
On February 8, the IT Ministry sent a fresh list of 1,200 accounts which it wanted Twitter to block access to in India. These accounts, the notice sent on February 4, says “were flagged by security agencies as accounts of Khalistan sympathizers or backed by Pakistan”. All these notices are under under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, which says the central government or any of its officers authorised by it can “in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence” direct any agency or intermediary to block access to its services and accounts to residents within the geographical limits of India.