That’s the headline on my latest story, out Wednesday with my colleague Rajesh Roy. It begins:
India threatened to punish Twitter if it doesn’t comply with a government request to restore a block on accounts connected to tweets about farmers’ protests that the government says are inflammatory.
On Monday Twitter blocked more than 250 accounts from being seen within India following a government request after Indian officials said the tweets could incite violence. The officials singled out the hashtag #ModiPlanningFarmersGenocide, which some Twitter users have been using to bring attention to the government’s crackdown on protesters.
The demonstrations have been going on for more than two months as farmers protest new laws as the first step in removing the government support they rely upon. New Delhi says the laws will help farmers and consumers by modernizing and streamlining the agricultural supply chain.
The blocking of the accounts on Monday, which included some respected news organizations and political activists, triggered an outcry on Twitter.
Twitter reversed the ban within 12 hours, saying the tweets in question should be allowed as part of free speech. The company said protecting public conversation and transparency was fundamental to its work.