In a recent tweet, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, addressed Twitter India’s decision to pull down posts that shared a BBC video critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Musk stated that he was unsure why this took place and that he would look into it. In this article, we discuss Musk’s comment and the decisions of Twitter India.
1. Elon Musk Reacts to Twitter India’s Decision to Remove Posts
Twitter India has recently removed posts featuring pro-farmer tweets from both official and non-official accounts. These tweets were related to the ongoing protests against farm laws in India. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has reacted to this move by expressing his disappointment.
In a tweet on 24th February 2021, Musk said “#ContinuePolitics” in support of the farmers protests. Along with this he also shared a news article highlighting how Twitter was selectively removing tweets. He then urged Twitter to reinstate the blocked accounts and opinions.
- This comes after several other celebrities like Rihanna and Greta Thunberg spoke out against the ongoing farmer protest in India.
- The reactions to Elon Musk’s response have been wide-ranging with some appreciating his attempt to ensure that public opinions are not silenced.
After being apprised of the situation, many international government authorities have urged the Indian government to resolve the protest. Members of the European Union and several political activists have also called on Twitter to reverse its decision as this could pose a dangerous precedent of censorship in India.
2. BBC Documentary Examines India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi’s Rise to Prime Minister
Narendra Modi is India’s 14th prime minister and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Elected in May 2014, he is credited with fighting political corruption and bringing about economic reform. A BBC documentary looks into his rise to success.
The film, titled “Narendra Modi: India’s Invisible Man”, examines Modi’s background and career, including his controversial past and unexpected rise to power. It looks at:
- A childhood in poverty and living in a small one-room hut in India’s Gujarat state
- His lowly identity as a tea seller, office cleaner and street organiser
- His involvement in Hindu nationalism and two Muslim massacres in Gujarat
- His successful campaign to become Prime Minister of India
The BBC documentary reveals that Modi was an outsider of the political elite and used the common-man identity to his advantage. It provides an in-depth look into Modi’s personal connections and rise to power, as well as the current political, social and economic climate of India.
3. Elon Musk: “Unaware Why Twitter India Pulled Posts”
Recent Twitter Dispute in India
The Indian Government recently ordered Twitter India to remove about 250 posts and tweets for reportedly containing ‘objectionable and inflammatory content’. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was included in the posts, which prompted him to tweet “What’s going on?” in response.
Reaction from Musk
Following the incident, Musk has been vocal in his stance clarifying that he wasn’t aware of the reasons why Twitter India removed the content. He noted that all he was doing was catching up on the news in India and that he hadn’t created any of the content. Musk conveyed his confusion with statements such as “How can you not allow people to post content, who’s trying to enlighten people of what’s really going on?”
Twitter India removed the content citing the compliance of a “government order”. Although Twitter hasn’t elaborated on the exact reasons of why, the widespread speculation suggests that it was removed due to its inflammatory nature.
4. Implications of Twitter India’s Action upon Freedom of Expression
1. Loss of Expression versus National Security
The decision to block over 500 Twitter accounts in India has caused an uproar amongst people looking to protect freedom of expression. A number of human rights organisations, opposition leaders and other activists have since voiced their outrage and disapproval of the sweeping decision made by Twitter India. In response, the company outlined its adherence to the Indian authorities’ directions and the cause for the blocks were said to be linked to national security.
2. Was the Response Too Harsh?
The intensity of the response taken by Twitter India raises questions as to whether it was justifiable in the sense of protecting freedom of expression and ensuring security at the same time. It appears that the heavy-handed enforcement of the restrictions raised unnecessary alarm and highlighted a lack of understanding about the true purpose behind the blocks. The imposition of such a measure should be done with utmost thoughtfulness and consideration for the rights of people to express their opinions and engage in meaningful, honest discourse. The episode has raised questions about freedom of speech in India, as well as making twitter users, including Musk, question the reasons why the tweets were pulled without any explanation. As the situation unfolds, it will be interesting to see how the tech giant handles any further controversy in the future.