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  • Voltaire Staff

X blocks pro-farmers accounts, disagrees with Indian govt order

Elon Musk-owned X has withheld specific accounts and posts in compliance with emergency blocking orders issued by the Indian government against content related to the farmers' protests -- but not without expressing reservations against the order.

The move follows the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology's ((MeitY) directives aimed at maintaining public order.

The Ministry has ordered the suspension of 177 accounts associated with the 'Delhi Chalo' march by farmers near the national capital.

Through its Global Government Affairs account, the voice of X's Global Government Affairs team, X wrote, "The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment."

The government has also instructed platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and Snap to block these accounts.

The company, however, disagrees with the directives and emphasized its dedication to freedom of speech.

It said, "In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts."

X also said, "Consistent with our position, a writ appeal challenging the Indian government's blocking orders remains pending. We have also provided the impacted users with notice of these actions in accordance with our policies."

MeitY issued these emergency orders at the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs on February 14, a day after the commencement of the farmers' 'Delhi Chalo' march.

The companies were instructed to suspend the accounts until Monday to ensure law and order.

"Due to legal restrictions, we are unable to publish the executive orders, but we believe that making them public is essential for transparency. This lack of disclosure can lead to a lack of accountability and arbitrary decision-making," wrote X.

Farmers in hundreds have been trying to come to Delhi but have been stopped at several places on the Punjab-Haryana border, by the Haryana security forces.

The security forces have used tear gas shells, even dropping them through drones, to disperse the farmers, and have erected multi-layered barricades at the border to prevent them from carrying on with their march.

Farmers have several demands, the key one of which is a legal guarantee for minimum support price for their crops.


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