All accounts/URLs blocked by the government are based on the IT Rules 2009 notified under section 69A of the IT Act, the IT ministry said in the Lok Sabha on December 8. The ministry was responding to a question about the reasons for ordering Twitter to block accounts of The Caravan Magazine and Kisan Ekta Morcha in February this year. Twitter had suspended several accounts on February 1 after receiving a legal notice, but the nature of the notice remained unclear. The IT Ministry's response yesterday shows how the provisions of the IT Act allow the government to suppress press freedom and dissent online. Which accounts were blocked in February? Twitter blocked access to 250 handles, including several prominent accounts. These include: The Caravan Magazine Shashi Shekhar, CEO of Prasar Bharti Kisan Ekta Morcha Tractor2twitr Sanjukta Basu, Political Commentator and Author Sushant Singh, Actor Hansraj Meena, Activist The blocked accounts were largely anti-government, or in support of the 2020–21 farmer protests. A day after blocking the accounts, Twitter decided to restore them after telling the government that the accounts were 'newsworthy'. After the unblocking, the government issued a notice to Twitter, warning penal action if the orders were not followed, The News Minute has reported. For what reasons does Section 69A of the IT Act allow blocking of accounts? Under Section 69A of the IT Act 2000, the central government can order an intermediary to block access to any information hosted on a computer resource only to protect: the interest…
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