Twitter Displays J&K, Ladakh As Separate CountriesJun 28, 2021 | Pratirodh Bureau
Amid a stand-off with the Indian government over compliance with new IT rules, the Twitter website is displaying a wrong map of the country that shows Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh as separate countries.
This is not the first time that Twitter has misrepresented India’s map. Earlier, it had shown Leh as part of China.
A mail sent to Twitter on the issue did not elicit a response.
The US digital giant has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian government over the new social media rules. The government has confronted Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules, despite repeated reminders.
Notably, the microblogging platform has lost its legal shield as an intermediary in India, becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content.
India had issued a stern warning to Twitter that time, making it clear that any disrespect of the country’s sovereignty and integrity is totally unacceptable. In November, the government issued a notice to Twitter for showing Leh as part of Jammu and Kashmir instead of the Union Territory of Ladakh, as the Centre lambasted the platform for disrespecting the territorial integrity of India by showing an incorrect map.
Twitter’s apparent heavy-handedness had come under government scrutiny when the microblogging platform did not fully comply with the new rules, called Intermediary Guidelines, that mandate setting up a robust grievance redressal mechanism and appointing officers to coordinate with law enforcement.
The rules became effective from May 26; and Twitter, even after the expiry of the additional time, had not appointed the requisite officers, leading to it losing the ‘safe harbour’ immunity.
Even in the backdrop of heightened strained relations with the Indian government, Twitter on Friday briefly blocked IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from accessing his account over alleged violation of US copyright law – a move that was immediately slammed by the minister as being arbitrary and in gross violation of IT rules.
Meanwhile, Twitter’s interim grievance officer for India, Dharmendra Chatur, has quit within weeks of taking over the key role.
California-based Jeremy Kessel has now been named as India’s grievance redressal officer, on the platform’s website — although the appointment does not meet the requirements of new IT rules, which clearly mandate key officers including the grievance officer, to be resident in India.