Twitter Concerned For Its Indian Employees After Delhi Police’s Special Cell Raid Its New Delhi Office
Twitter said it was concerned about its employees in India and with the potential threat to freedom of expression just days after its offices were visited by police officials.
On 27 May, Twitter expressed concern about the safety of its Indian staff as it indirectly targets the recent visit of a team of Delhi Police’s Special Cell at its New Delhi office tagging it as “use of intimidation tactics by the police”. The microblogging platform said that it will continue its constructive dialogue with the Indian government. The statement read, “It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public.”
Twitter’s long-drawn battle with the government started around January-February this year amid which the statement has been issued by the social media platform. The tussle has been going on as the Centre has accused Twitter of dragging its feet in blocking content flagged by the Centre. In its defence, Twitter said that its action was directly proportional to freedom of speech. This is also Twitter’s first official response regarding the new IT rules which were announced on February 25 and the social media intermediaries were given three months time to comply so as to keep operating in India.
The Delhi Police on Monday visited the Twitter office to serve a notice to Twitter’s India head for tagging a tweet of BJP spokesperson as “manipulated media”. This was amid the disagreement between the microblogging platform and GOI regarding the new rules. Combining both the issues, Twitter issued a statement talking about how new IT rules prevent free conversation and, at present, Twitter has pressing issues like the “safety of its employees in India”.
“To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India. But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law,” it said.
The statement further read, “Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve. We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules”. Twitter mentioned that it, however, plans to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation and for the same the ongoing constructive dialogue with the Centre will continue, it said.