India asks Twitter to take down tweets critical of its COVID-19 handling

Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

The Indian government asked social media platform Twitter to take down dozens of tweets that were critical of India's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, as cases of COVID-19 again hit a world record.

Twitter has withheld some of the tweets after the legal request by the Indian government, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday.

The government made an emergency order to censor the tweets, Twitter disclosed on Lumen database, a Harvard University project.

In the government's legal request, dated April 23 and disclosed on Lumen, 21 tweets were mentioned. Among them were tweets from a lawmaker named Revnath Reddy, a minister in the state of West Bengal named Moloy Ghatak and a filmmaker named Avinash Das.

The law cited in the government's request was the Information Technology Act, 2000.

"When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both the Twitter Rules and local law," the Twitter spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

"If the content violates Twitter's rules, the content will be removed from the service. If it is determined to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but not in violation of the Twitter Rules, we may withhold access to the content in India only," she said.

The spokeswoman confirmed that Twitter had notified account holders directly about withholding their content and let them know that it received a legal order pertaining to their tweets.

The development was reported earlier by technology news website TechCrunch, which said that Twitter was not the only platform affected by the order.

Overwhelmed hospitals in India begged for oxygen supplies on Saturday as the country's coronavirus infections have soared in what the Delhi high court called a "tsunami," setting a world record for cases for a third consecutive day.

India is in the grip of a rampaging second wave of the pandemic, hitting a rate of one COVID-19 death in just under every four minutes in Delhi as the capital's underfunded health system buckles.

The number of cases across the country of around 1.3 billion people rose by 346,786, the Health Ministry said on Saturday, for a total of 16.6 million cases. COVID-19 deaths rose by 2,624, to a total of 189,544, according to Saturday's figures.

Health experts said India became complacent in the winter, when new cases were running at about 10,000 a day and seemed to be under control. Authorities lifted restrictions, allowing the resumption of big gatherings, including large festivals and political rallies for local elections.

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • The Night Shift with Mark Lloyd

    8:00pm - 10:00pm

    Musicians and music, entertainers and entertainment, industry gossip and songs selected by you, get ready to bring your night time to life! Every evening from nine, Mark Lloyd brings you an energetic mix of local and international content and contests, featuring an array of celebrity interviews and entertaining anecdotes. Get involved in the show and pick your favourite jukebox hits, every night from 8pm - 11pm.

  • Nights on Dubai Eye 103.8

    10:00pm - 6:00am

    Dubai Eye complements the conversation with the music you love from the eighties, nineties and newer.

BUSINESS BREAKFAST LATEST

On Dubai Eye

  • Meet Gift, female food delivery driver

    Gift came here from Nigeria and failed to find a job, until a pizza company offered her one. She's now one of the very few female delivery drivers in the UAE.

  • FARMER'S KITCHEN

    Farmer's Kitchen is back for 2021!
    With our partners Spinneys, we are going to help you wave goodbye to boring dinners, cluttered fridges, and lumpy leftovers!