Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s sensational accusations of “threat from the Indian government” sparked a massive war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government and opposition parties.
While Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar dismissed the allegations as an “outright lie”, Congressman Manish Tewari said Dorsey’s claims are “not at all surprising” given that after 2014 there has been a “systematic erosion of free speech and civil liberties in the country”.
“Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not limited to the national government alone. Certain state governments have also been equally draconian and authoritarian in the way they try to suppress dissent and ban alternative voices,” he added.
The state minister for IT ignored the claims, tweeting that Dorsey’s Twitter regime had “a problem accepting the sovereignty of Indian law”.
To talk with News18, Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “Facts are very simple. Twitter, as a company, thought it was outside the sovereignty of Indian laws. They repeatedly violated Indian laws from 2020 to 2022. It wasn’t until June last year that they started adhering to the Indian rule.”
He went on to say that during the entire period they were in violation of Indian law, no one was ambushed or jailed.
“Twitter, led by Jack Dorsey, abused the platform to silence some people and empower some people; to platform and de-platform some people. They violated articles 14 and 19 of our Indian constitution and the rights of Indian citizens every day. I find it astonishing that a man who was in charge of such a violation of fundamental rights should suddenly turn up and spread lies,” the minister said.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also said Dorsey is lying and trying to politicize the matter.
#WATCH | “What has been said is a blatant lie. Jack Dorsey woke up after years of sleep and wants to cover up his wrongdoings. When Twitter was bought by another person, ‘Twitter Files’ revealed how the platform was being abused. Jack Dorsey has can’t answer this… pic.twitter.com/8EUSrgCNjR— ANI (@ANI) June 13, 2023
VIDEO | “Jack Dorsey’s allegations are completely baseless. All social media (platforms) are respected in India, but constitution and land law will have to be followed,” says BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad of former Twitter CEO’s claim that he faces the government. … pic.twitter.com/K4xWg2sW1P— Press Confidence of India (@PTI_News) June 13, 2023
Opposition response to Jack Dorsey’s claims
Saket Gokhale, the leader of the Trinamool Congress, meanwhile said that the BJP government has turned India’s social media into their “personal propaganda tool”. blatantly breaking laws to intimidate social media companies into crushing criticism,” he added.
In an interview yesterday, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claimed the Modi government had sent “an unprecedented number of requests” to remove accounts of journalists and others critical of the government during the farmer protests. 👉 He also said Twitter was threatened that it… pic.twitter.com/J0cNgXwC7u
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) June 13, 2023
Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said: “We were told that the kind of outreach on Facebook and Twitter expected in farmer protests would not come. They used to try to stop it at their level. The head (former CEO of Twitter) has now clearly stated this. But such companies are not under pressure from anyone. The Government of India must have made such attempts… What he said is correct”
TMC quoted Ugandan dictator Idi Amin: “There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech”.
Requests or, in this case, veiled threats! Jack Dorsey, in one of his recent interviews, talked about how Twitter had received requests from the @BJP4India Government to block bills covering farmer protests and government criticism.
Non-compliance? Shall we close… pic.twitter.com/5MiIFsjIQd
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) June 13, 2023
Congress leader Srinivas BV uploaded Jack’s statement saying “Mother of Democracy – Unfiltered”.