The rules in India for social media are quite strict, cannot go beyond the laws of the country: Elon Musk
If the choice is between complying with laws or going to jail, I'd rather comply with laws than have any of my people go to jail: Musk
Responding to a question about blocking of content related to a BBC documentary on 2002 Gujarat riots, Muks said he “is not aware of this particular situation”
Twitter CEO Elon Musk said that India’s social media laws are “quite strict” and he would prefer complying with the rules than his employees going to jail.
Responding to a question about the blocking of content related to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary which focuses on the response of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government in the 2002 riots in Gujarat, Musk said he “is not aware of this particular situation”.
PM Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat when the riots broke out in the state.
The rules in India for social media are quite strict, the business tycoon said during a Twitter Spaces conversation with a BBC journalist.
“We cannot go beyond the laws of the country,” Musk said. “If the choice is between complying with laws or going to jail, I’d rather comply with laws than have any of my people go to jail.”
Earlier this year, the I&B Ministry used its emergency powers under Rule 16(3) of the IT Rules, 2021 and directed Twitter to take down tweets that linked to the controversial documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ soon after it was aired in the UK. The Ministry of External Affairs called the documentary a “propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative”.
Twitter is currently involved in a legal battle with the Indian government over some of the content takedown orders issued by the Centre. While the social media platform contended in the Karnataka High Court that a majority of tweets that the government asked it to block were ‘innocuous’, the Centre last month said that Twitter didn’t appear before the review committee to challenge the content blocking orders and instead approached the court.
Musk’s comments come at a time when the Indian government is looking at tightening the laws governing the digital space in the country and reining in big tech companies.
On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court (HC) sought the Centre’s response on the ‘factual background’ that paved the way for the recent amendments in IT Rules. The court also asked the government to explain why the IT Amendment Rules, 2023 should not be stayed.
The court was hearing a petition filed by comedian Kunal Kamra challenging norms that empower the Centre to flag ‘fake news’ concerning government bodies.
Last week, the Centre notified multiple amendments to the IT Rules, 2021 that empower the government to flag and identify the spread of misleading information about it.
Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that a new entity will be notified to fact check all online content related to the government.
The new agency will operate under the purview of the IT Ministry. Besides, the amended rules also make it obligatory for social media intermediaries to not ‘publish, share or host’ fake news related to the central government.