At a time when the Indian government is campaigning against inflammatory content on social media websites, the United States on Thursday stressed to India the importance of online freedom whilst overseeing the security of the nation.
"As the Indian government seeks to preserve security, we are urging them also to take into account the importance of freedom of expression in the online world," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said according to Press Trust of India.
Nuland further added that the Indian government is coordinating with online media companies like Twitter and Facebook, which are also engaged in talks with the government to see how they can abide by Indian law within the context of online freedom.
"Our understanding is that the Indian governments is working with a number of our companies -- Google, Facebook and now twitter. We stand ready to be helpful if we can, as we always do with our companies, in those conversations," she said in a response to questions regarding the Indian government's decision to block Twitter accounts involved in rumor mongering.
Earlier this week, Twitter was under fire for refusing to take down doctored images and malicious messages from its accounts as requested by the Home Ministry. The company was given a 12-hour deadline to block the content involved in spreading hate messages and warnings of violence that led to a mass exodus of North-East migrants from several cities last week.
"Every company, whether it's an entertainment company, or a construction company, or a social media company, has to operate within the laws of the given country," Minister of State for Communications Sachin Pilot said according to the Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, the centre is facing a backlash from angry Twitter users after the government warned to take firm action if the website fails to block 28 accounts containing objectionable content about the Assam violence. The government is yet to make clear the charges against those sites which failed to comply with the notice.
"Dear GOI (Government of India), Keep your Hands off My Internet. Else face protest" tweeted one user.
Recently, the government ordered blocking of 300 websites to weed out the unlawful content that triggered panic in the wake of Assam riots. In the list containing the 300 URLSs to be taken down, sixteen were Twitter accounts.