Several tweets deriding the death of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat were blocked in India by Twitter in response to a legal request sent by the Government of India claiming violation of the Information Technology Act, 2000. MediaNama has seen public disclosures of the orders made available by Twitter to the Lumen Database. The website receives and publishes disclosures from private entities, including social media companies, of legal takedown notices they get from governments and private entities all over the world. A general reading of the tweets and the accounts from which they were posted indicated that it was of Pakistani origin. In many tweets that are unable for viewing in India, Rawat was blamed for violence in Kashmir. It is important to note that these tweets can still be viewed by simply changing the location settings on Twitter. Although it was not mentioned which ministry sent the legal request on December 15, it has generally been the work of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) in the past. When asked for comments regarding the matter, a Twitter spokesperson redirected MediaNama to its "About country withheld content" policy. No other explanation was provided. The lack of transparency when it comes to takedown requests issued by the Indian government signals that the online space for exercising fundamental rights such as freedom of speech is shrinking. Social media posts on General Rawat's death also led to arrests Soon after…
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