‘Interference with free speech’: BJP MP Hegde complains to PM against Twitter
India needs to develop an Indian version of Twitter to ensure “sovereignty”, Hegde, whose account was blocked earlier this week allegedly over communal content, said in a letter to Modi. HT has seen the letter dated April 25.Updated: Apr 28, 2020 18:22 IST
Anant Kumar Hegde, a former Union minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Uttara Kannada parliamentarian, has complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against Twitter, alleging that the microblogging site was interfering with “free speech”.
India needs to develop an Indian version of Twitter to ensure “sovereignty”, Hegde, whose account was blocked earlier this week allegedly over communal content, said in a letter to Modi. HT has seen the letter dated April 25.
Hegde, known for his controversial comments, said there has been “selective targeting” of several pro-India handles, which have been suspended or locked in the past few months.
“Pro-Indian, national interest think tanks run by decorated veterans who never indulge in any mudslinging but speak about subjects like data sovereignty are silenced by suspending accounts. Handle belonging to elected public representatives are suspended without notice,” the letter said.
Hegde alleged that handles “spewing poison and passing objectionable comments about Prime Minister of India, home minister of India, chief ministers and other Indian establishment are promoted via paid advertisements”.
Attaching screen shots of various tweets, he also alleged that handles spreading discontent and fake news about Indian religions or elected representatives are not warned or blocked even after repeated complaints. Hegde’s letter called for a probe into what he called motives behind such acts by Twitter.
When contacted, Twitter said: “We don’t comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. At Twitter, no one is above our rules. We enforce our policies judiciously and impartially for all users — regardless of one’s political beliefs. If we receive reports of potential rule violations, we will take action, as appropriate and pursuant with our enforcement approach, as detailed here.”