Prasad says social media platforms should follow Indian law

New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI):
Amid a row with Twitter over blocking of accounts, India on Thursday warned social media platforms of strict action for failure to crack down on inflammatory content, saying they have to fully comply with the country’s law. A day after his ministry rebuked Twitter for not complying with its orders to take down inflammatory content, Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said social media platforms cannot give differential treatment while handling problems on Capitol Hill and the Red Fort.
The government, he said, was committed to freedom of media and rights of individuals but it was equally concerned about safety, security, and law and order in the country. “Please don’t spread enmity, violence and misinformation.
Please follow the Constitution of India and the law of the land (otherwise we will be very strict),” he said replying to a question in Rajya Sabha. His ministry had expressed displeasure at Twitter for failing to remove 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 farm bill protestors ran riot at Red Fort on Republic Day. “This double standard would not work here,” he said flagging inflammatory content, especially those with the hashtag of Modi planning farmers’ genocide. “Yeh kya mazak hai? (What kind of a joke is this?),” he said.
The Constitution of India guarantees freedom of speech but Article 19 (2) also says that it is subject to reasonable restrictions because of the “sovereignty and integrity” of India. Prasad said that while social media platforms have their own self-regulatory mechanism to check and evaluate inflammatory content, that does not mean they will not follow the Indian rules. “This will not work here,” he said.

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