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Twitter Sues Narendra Modi’s Government Over Content Block Order 

Twitter has been having a hard time in India since last year, spending months in a high-stakes showdown with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over free speech.

At one point, the company even became the target of several police investigations. Twitter (TVTR) called them “scare tactics” and said it was “concerned” about the safety of its employees in the country.  But to the dismay of free speech activists, she chose not to sue the government. Until now.

The San Francisco-based company filed a petition with the High Court of Karnataka, a state in southwest India, on Tuesday, according to a list published by CNN Business.

A source familiar with the filing said the company has decided to challenge some of the government’s orders because they “demonstrate an excessive use of authority and are disproportionate.”

In the past, authorities have asked Twitter to remove critical posts from the Modi government, including about how he handled the brutal second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country last spring.

“Authorities harass people for content posted online and routinely intimidate web platforms and social media services into censorship,” said Raman Jeet Singh Cheema, Senior International Advisor and Policy Director for Asia Pacific at  Access Now digital rights group.

Chima and other free speech advocates have accused the government of trying to censor journalists, protest groups and opposition lawmakers with their rarely made public restraining orders.

Last month, the Indian Ministry of Technology threatened Twitter with legal action against its executives if the company did not comply with the agency’s order to remove some tweets and block accounts, the source said.

While the company has blocked access to the content in India for now, it is seeking judicial review of some of the orders. The company believes they violate the country’s technology laws and threaten free speech, according to the source.

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