'Murder of democracy': Congress slams Centre over X's statement

    The Hawk
    February22/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Congress accuses the BJP-led government of "murdering" democracy by ordering social media to block accounts related to farmers' protests. Microblogging platform X disputes the move, advocating for freedom of expression.

    Congress leader Jairam Ramesh

    New Delhi: The Congress alleged on Thursday that democracy is being "murdered" in the country, after microblogging platform X voiced disagreement with the BJP-led Centre's order to block accounts and posts related to ongoing farmers' protests.

    X also called for extending freedom of expression to the affected posts.

    The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has ordered social media platforms to temporarily block 177 accounts linked to the farmers' protests on the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), according to sources.

    Tagging a statement issued by X's Global Government Affairs team, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "Murder Of Democracy in India."

    In its statement, the microblogging platform said: "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. 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."

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    It said a writ appeal challenging the government's blocking orders remains pending and called for making the order public to enhance transparency.

    "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," X said.

    The microblogging platform has provided the impacted users with a notice of the government's actions in accordance with the company's policies.

    Farmers from across the country have been protesting to press the Centre for their demands, including a legal guarantee on the minimum support price (MSP) for crops and farm loan waiver.

    The protesting farmer leaders put their march to Delhi on hold for two days on Wednesday after a protester was killed and about 12 police personnel were injured in clashes at one of the protest sites on the Punjab-Haryana border.