Sikh Coalition Condemns Move to Permanently Suspend Farmers Protest Twitter Accounts
Yesterday, Twitter capitulated to India’s continuing demands to squash free speech by announcing the permanent suspension of over 500 accounts. These suspensions, in addition to an unspecified number of other accounts being inaccessible inside India, are due to account owners criticizing the conduct of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government in response to the ongoing farmers’ protest.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Twitter acknowledged that this decision was made after being served legal non-compliance notices, which threatened fines and prison time for their Indian employees. The Sikh Coalition issued the following statement in response:
“India’s choice to bully Twitter into clamping down on free speech, simply because some accounts are critical of its government, should bring into sharper focus how dangerous its anti-democratic efforts to silence dissent have become.”
“The Indian government is so terrified of its own citizens speaking truth to power that it threatened to imprison the employees of a multi-billion dollar American company. How hard is it now to imagine the legitimate danger of the ongoing human rights abuses that protesting farmers are facing? American officials, including the Biden Administration, need to wake up to the fact that prioritizing ‘business as usual’ with India while ignoring human rights is not a workable foreign policy position.”
“Twitter has a responsibility to protect its employees and uphold its principles, including the right to free speech. It has no obligation to Prime Minister Modi’s political agenda. We are extremely disappointed by this recent decision and vow to continue to hold Twitter and other tech platforms, including Facebook, accountable for their actions.”
“Specifically, tech platforms must sit down with civil rights organizations and civil society experts to moderate a discussion that puts forward a meaningful plan to protect vulnerable journalists, human rights defenders, and the millions who use their platforms that remain uniquely vulnerable to hate speech, violence and genocide.”