New Delhi, India (Reuters) – New Delhi’s police said on Thursday they had created a “blacklist” for companies that post anti “anti-national” content on social media, a move likely to anger pro-India protesters who say the move is an infringement on free speech.
A large number of pro-Indias protest rallies in the city have been cancelled or blocked in recent months, prompting India’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to accuse the ruling BJP of stifling free speech in India.
A protest rally is seen in central Delhi, March 5, 2020.
A small number of Indian companies, including some state-owned enterprises, have also been accused of “promoting terrorism” and engaging in “anti nationalism” in recent weeks.
A police officer stands guard during a protest in New Delhi March 7, 2020, against a plan to introduce a ‘black list’ for websites that post posts against India’s government.
A protester is held down by unidentified men in New Rajasthan March 2, 2020.(Photo by Rajesh Kumar/Files via Reuters)”The government has put the interests of the state ahead of the interest of its citizens,” Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters.
“The issue of terrorism has come up repeatedly in the national election.
There are also questions about whether these companies have been doing anything wrong.”
They should know that they are not allowed to post anything they do not like, and they have to be responsible for it,” he added.
India’s parliament is due to debate the new blacklist proposal on Friday, with members of the opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pushing for the government to include anti-national posts on the blacklist.
A senior official from the National Information and Broadcasting Commission said the blacklist would be made public within 48 hours.
A member of the ruling Bharatiyan Janata party is seen protesting in New New Delhi (File: Reuters)Protests against India have surged in the past two weeks after the country’s ruling Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, which has a controlling stake in telecom firm Vodafone India, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to create a “terrorist state” by banning the countrys main foreign language service provider Vodacom, and barring foreign citizens from entering the country.
The Indian government has repeatedly denied the charges.
India has been a major hub for internet companies, and has been accused by many in the West of stifle free speech and internet freedom.
The country has also seen a rise in cases of cyber attacks.
India was ranked 126th in the world in terms of internet users in 2020, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.