Punjabi Singer Jazzy B’s Twitter Account Blocked In India On Government Request

The Lumen database - an open archive that analyses complaints and requests for content removal to guarantee transparency confirmed Twitter's action.

Twitter has blocked four accounts in India, including one belonging to Jazzy B, a Canadian-Punjabi singer who has frequently tweeted in support of farmers protesting the government's agriculture laws and who, in December last year, joined thousands camped on the national capital's borders.

Following a demand from the government on Sunday, the accounts were blocked - they have been 'geo-restricted,' meaning they may still be accessed from IP addresses outside the nation.

"When we receive a proper legal request, we examine it in light of the Twitter Rules as well as local laws. If the content is found to be in violation of Twitter's rules, it will be deleted from the service. We may prohibit access to the content in India only if it is considered to be illegal in a particular country but not in violation of the Twitter Rules “ Twitter said in a statement.

In every case, we directly notify the account holder that we've received a judicial order pertaining to the account. If available, we notify the user(s) by sending an email to the email address connected with the account(s) "Added the statement.

All four accounts, according to the technology news website TechCrunch, have posted information critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government or in protest against the farming laws.

The Lumen database - an online archive that analyses legal complaints and demands for content removal to guarantee transparency - Twitter's posted confirmation of its action.

This isn't the first time Twitter has been ordered to deactivate accounts that are tweeting about the farmers' protests.

Around 250 accounts were filed in February, including Caravan magazine's editors, against whom Delhi Police had launched a FIR.

The request came from the Home Ministry and law enforcement agencies, according to sources, and was made to avoid "an escalation of the law and order (situation) in light of the ongoing farmer protest."

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The account blocking this week comes as Twitter is under pressure to comply with new laws for social media companies, which Twitter has labelled as a "possible threat to freedom of expression.”

The company claimed on Monday that it required additional time to comply with these standards after it was raided by the Delhi Police last month after it tagged a BJP leader's tweet as "manipulated media."

Last month, the government issued a thinly veiled threat, telling Twitter to "stop beating around the bush and cooperate" rather than "dictating terms" to the world's largest democracy.

The guidelines have been criticised as an example of the Modi government's efforts to silence criticism and freedom of expression or speech. They were ostensibly aimed to hold firms like Twitter and Facebook more accountable for content posted on their websites.

The government, on the other hand, has chastised Twitter for attempting to undermine the country's legal system through its acts and defiance.

In the event of a complaint, non-compliance with the new IT laws will make Twitter susceptible to criminal charges.

In addition to Twitter, the new restrictions have prompted a legal challenge from WhatsApp, which claims that the government is overstepping its legal authority by passing measures that will force the messaging platform to breach end-to-end encryption.