File image: Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has turned down a request for a meeting with Twitter, CNBC-TV18 reported citing government sources.
Instead, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney is likely to lead the talks with the social media giant, the report suggested. Sawhney will meet Twitter’s Vice President of Global Public Policy through a video conference. The talks are likely to happen this week.
According to the news report, the social media platform is likely to seek protection from any coercive action against the company and its employees. This comes after the Centre warned that Twitter officials may face a seven-year jail term in case of non-compliance of directions that sought blocking of certain accounts over alleged hate content on the platform.
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The news report suggested that Twitter is likely to convey its internal policy on implementation of valid government orders for blocking content and accounts.
On February 10, responding to recent orders by the Centre asking Twitter to block some accounts and content allegedly containing harmful content, the social media giant put out a note on how it had responded and taken steps to reduce visibility of such hashtags and content.
Twitter begins blocking accounts as per Centre’s request
Twitter has confirmed that it has been served with multiple blocking orders by MeitY under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act. Of these, two were emergency blocking orders Twitter said were “temporarily complied with” but subsequently restored in a manner that it believed “was consistent with Indian law”.
Read full text of Twitter's response to blocking orders from Centre
However, Twitter also said that the values that underpin the open internet and free expression are “increasingly under threat around the world”.
“Twitter exists to empower voices to be heard, and we continue to make improvements to our service so that everyone — no matter their views or perspective — feels safe participating in the public conversation,” the social media platform added.
Twitter said on February 8 that it was cooperating with the Centre which had earlier warned the microblogging site of penal action for not taking down accounts and tweets which posed threat to law and order in the country.