India censors social media posts as internet freedom continues to dwindle

India sent Twitter to local account censorship and dozens of posts, including some referring to a report mentioning the country’s dwindling internet freedoms, the social media platform confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been accused of suppressing criticism, with human rights groups sounding the alarm over increasing restrictions on freedom of expression in the world’s largest democracy.

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Last year, the government ordered Twitter to delete tweets from US think tank Freedom House that had talked about the detention of Indian citizens for questioning government policies on social media, and using internet shutdowns to quell dissent.

The tweets were no longer available in India as of this week, along with several Pakistani government accounts flagged by India.

Twitter said in a statement to AFP that the takedowns were “limited to the specific jurisdiction/country where the content is considered illegal”.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry tweeted Monday evening that India’s actions were “extremely alarming” and contrary to democratic standards protecting freedom of expression.

The Indian government has repeatedly asked Twitter to withhold accounts and messages in recent years.

Last year, it asked the platform to block accounts that had made comments in support of anti-government protesters.

Police also investigated more than 100 social media account owners who had tweeted about mob attacks on Muslims in northeast India last October, including prominent Indian journalists and a US-based law professor.

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