Illustration: The Wire Derived from Jennifer Moo/Flickr CC

New Delhi: The Union government issued over 3,417 orders to block Twitter URLs in 2022 – up from a mere eight times in 2014, when the Narendra Modi-led government came to power, data accessed through Right to Information (RTI) requests showed.

This trend, according to RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak, who obtained the data, indicates either an increase in the abuse of such platforms or growing “sensitivity of the Union government towards the views and opinions which are not in line with its own thinking” or both.

Earlier, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s central public information officer (CPIO) had rejected a request to publish the proceedings of the inter-departmental committee which issues directions to block content on social and digital media platforms under the IT Rules, 2021.

The CPIO claimed ‘confidentiality’ for the proceedings of the review committee and rejected a request to publish them under the RTI Act, 2005. However, after a delay of 40 days, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s CPIO responded to some of the queries.

It said that the committee constituted under Rule 7 to examine requests/complaints for blocking access to information met 39 times in 2021 and 53 times in 2022.

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