As the effect of Covid 19 mishandling made headlines worldwide, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strategy for tackling the crisis is to ask Twitter to take down the criticism of the government and not surprisingly Twitter complied.
Amid a record breaking surge in COVID-19 cases, the Indian government forced Twitter to remove 21 critical tweets criticizing its handling of the outbreak, using an emergency request under the country’s Information Technology Act.
“When we receive a valid legal request, we review it under both the Twitter Rules and local law,” a Twitter spokeswoman said on why they complied with the ‘takedown’ request.
“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.”
In the government’s 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.
India is in the grip of a 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. Criticism is mounting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal government and state authorities have not prepared adequately to handle the crisis.
Some 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.
International efforts are under way to help India as the country suffers critical oxygen shortages amid a devastating surge in Covid cases.
The UK and US has begun sending ventilators and oxygen concentrator devices as well as raw materials to enable India to make more of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The EU is also due to send aid.