Twitter on Thursday said it is worried about the safety of its staff in India and called for the government to respect freedom of expression, days after Indian police visited its office in New Delhi over its labeling of a tweet by a governing party spokesman as “manipulated media.”
Twitter has been involved in a tense battle with the Indian government, which has often asked it to restrict content alleging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is trying to silence criticism, including of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Twitter said it has “concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police” and “the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”
India’s IT ministry called Twitter’s statement “totally baseless, false and an attempt to defame India.” It said Twitter should “comply with the laws of the land” instead of “dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be.”
The ministry also said representatives of social media companies including Twitter “are and will always remain safe in India.”
On Monday, Indian police visited the Twitter office in New Delhi to serve a notice directing it to answer questions about its tagging of the tweet as manipulated.