New Delhi, July 02:
Pakistan summoned Indian Charge d’Affaires (Cd’A) Suresh Kumar to Islamabad on Friday to lodge a “strong” protest over the recent blocking of certain Pakistani Twitter handles in India.ADVERTISING
“The Indian Charge d’Affaires (Cd’A) in Islamabad was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today and a strong demarche was made on the Indian government’s blocking of access to the content of 80 accounts on Twitter, including accounts of Pakistan’s diplomatic missions in Iran, Turkey, Egypt, UN-New York and the national broadcaster Radio Pakistan, by activating geo-blocking and censorship laws,” a statement issued by Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) said.
India banned official Twitter accounts of several Pakistani diplomatic missions, journalists and some prominent personalities under the Information Technology Act, 2000. Pakistan has accused India of an attempt to curb “pluralistic” voices.
“The Cd’A was conveyed that these Indian actions were against the international standards, obligations, norms, and framework of the flow of information and reflected the alarming pace of shrinking space for pluralistic voices and curbing of fundamental freedoms in India,” Pakistan FO said.
The government of India has been urged to immediately reverse its actions relating to the blocking of Pakistan’s diplomatic missions’ Twitter accounts in India, calling India’s move “illegal” and one that is “completely against the rights to access to information and fundamental freedom of opinion or expression.”
“ The Government of India has been urged to immediately reverse its actions. India must also abide by the established international norms and standards as espoused by the United Nations and also ensure the protection of fundamental freedoms and respect for dissent,” said Pak FO.
In India, the move came as part of a government crackdown on several Pakistani social media channels and accounts for spreading fake and unverified news. Recently, the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting blocked 16 YouTube news channels, including six Pakistan-based channels, for spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations, and public order.