Around 250 tweets and Twitter accounts were withheld in India after the intervention of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) on Monday. The action was taken after the users trended the #ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide hashtag and made fake, intimidating and provocative tweets on Saturday.
As expected, there is great outrage among liberals concerning the decision.
Well someone I know as a strong voice against the atrocities of the Present government, @sushant_says ,his account has been blocked by @TwitterIndia . @sushant_says was leading the fight against abusive, Twitter handles that spew hate & threaten women.— Tehseen Poonawalla Official (@tehseenp) February 1, 2021
Stunned @_sayema pic.twitter.com/oKE4TauOai
The outrage is quite ironic given the outburst of celebrations that were recently observed on social media following the suspension of the social media accounts of former US President Donald Trump. An ordinary person would expect some semblance of objectivity here but that, unfortunately, is nowhere to be found.
Twitter had banned Donald Trump from its platform not because he incited violence as liberals like to claim. He was actually suspended because Twitter assessed that his tweets could be interpreted by his followers as incitement to violence. There is great difference between the two.
Fast forward to the current situation. There were massive riots on Republic Day, the Red Fort was held at siege. And on Saturday, the accounts which were withheld in India trended the hashtag that claimed that the Indian government was planning a ‘farmer genocide’ in the country.
It is fearmongering of the most atrocious kind that could have devastating consequences and lead to violence. How on earth, then, can liberals claim that such accounts should not have been suspended? Regardless of what they may claim, the only reason they oppose the suspension of such accounts is because they agree with their politics.
Let alone Donald Trump, multiple non-left accounts have been suspended in India for airing contrarian points of view. And liberals cheered for the censorship because they disagreed with the politics advocated by such accounts. Prominent non-left Twitter accounts have also been suspended because they implored the police to enforce law and order and crack down on rioting mobs.
And here, liberals want such Twitter accounts to go unpunished despite pushing a dangerous narrative that has the potential to unleash unparalleled violence at the Delhi border. Indian liberals have continuously advocated that fake news should be punished, legally as well as action by Twitter India.
By any metric, the claim that the Modi Government was planning a ‘farmer genocide’ is as much of a fake news as it gets. It is a million times worse than QAnon or the conspiracy theories peddled by Alex Jones. The Infowars founder was deplatformed by social media giants for much less than that. And liberals have continuously cheered for Big Tech censorship.
In the current scenario, the government has decided to act because it has perceived that such provocative tweets by these accounts could lead to major law and order problems in the country. Consequently, they communicated to Twitter that they must be withheld in India.
Thus, quite clearly, Indian liberals appear to be perfectly comfortable with faceless Silicon Valley employees censoring accounts on the internet. However, they have a problem with the democratically elected government of India taking appropriate measures to maintain law and order.
The current situation is not about freedom of expression at all. Even in the United States of America, the First Amendment does not empower citizens to scream fire in a crowded theater. Similarly, claiming that Narendra Modi was planning a ‘farmer genocide’ in the country days after ‘farmer protesters’ stormed the national capital does not fall within the parameters of freedom of speech.
Liberals will attempt to justify just about anything and it is something that we have come to expect from them. An FIR was registered against Rajdeep Sardesai and The Caravan journalists among others for spreading fake news to incite riots. Liberals somehow managed to turn it into a press freedom issue.
Mandeep Punia, a journalist associated with The Caravan, was detained at Singhu Border for misbehaving with the Police. Liberals turned that into a press freedom issue as well. Quite clearly, they appear to labour under the delusion that people who agree with their politics could never do anything wrong and any legal action against them must be because the ‘evil government’ wants to ‘oppress’ them.
Nevertheless, it is quite hilarious indeed to watch people who justified censorship by tech giants and celebrated it suddenly cry oppression when accounts are being withheld, not even suspended, for tweeting dangerous nonsense that could have catastrophic real life consequences.