Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that social media platform Twitter should not "preach us on democracy" as he said that India has the proud distinction of being the world's largest and the most vibrant democracy.
Speaking to India TV, Prasad said that the government will not ban Twitter and that the platform has to follow the rules, else it will invite stringent liabilities as per the law.
"...Twitter loktantra ki nasihat na dein, Bharat ka loktantra majboot hai (Twitter should not preach us about democracy. India's democracy is strong)" he said.
"People have the freedom to ask questions, courts are free to ask questions," he said. "We (BJP) won in Assam and lost in Bengal. This is the beauty of democracy."
When asked whether the government will ban Twitter, he replied, "No, we are not in favour of banning the platform. But there would be consequences and you have to face that if you don't follow the rules."
"We have never stopped anyone from speaking, criticising... there are people on Twitter who criticise the Prime Minister, the government and BJP...we never stopped them," he said.
The new IT rules for social media companies that came into effect last month mandate large platforms like Facebook and Twitter to undertake greater due diligence and make these digital platforms more accountable and responsible for the content hosted by them. Under the rules, significant social media intermediaries -- those with over 50 lakh users -- are required to appoint a grievance officer, a nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel have to be residents in India.
Further, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for issues such as nudity and pornography. The new social media guidelines came into effect from May 26, 2021 but Twitter did not comply with the rules.