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Twitter suing Indian government over orders to block content and suspend accounts

Twitter is taking the Indian government to court to resist orders demanding that the platform take down content and suspend particular accounts.

The social media platform has said that India‘s government orders are an excessive use of power and appear to be politically motivated as they target official accounts targeting the ruling party’s opposition.

In a legal petition filed with the high court in Karnataka, Twitter is attempting to resist the government’s orders – claiming they fall short of the standards required by Indian law for the government to be allowed to censor content and accounts.

Shortly after Twitter filed its legal petition, the country’s junior IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar tweeted to say that all foreign technology companies and platforms had the right to seek judicial review.

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However he also stressed that these platforms had an “unambiguous obligation” to comply with India’s laws and rules.

Twitter has been engaged in a long-running battle with the Indian government after last year refusing to take down accounts supporting farmers’ protests.

Tensions had been high in India as farmers demonstrated against new laws on agriculture being imposed by the government.

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Although it temporarily suspended hundreds of accounts at the time, the platform later said it would not agree to an outright ban and argued such action would go against Indian law.

The government reportedly threatened to punish Twitter employees with fines and prison terms of up to seven years for restoring the suspended accounts.

Sky News analysis of the tweets which the government attempted to remove found the majority were critical of the government’s handling of the crisis, and in some cases they attributed blame directly to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.

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