India is going censorship mad

India is worried that Twitter has become a threat to national security and has warned Twitter of “appropriate and suitable action.”

It has told the outfit that it has to close 20 accounts that it believes have spread scare-mongering stories.

India has been getting all censorship mad lately and blocked 200 web pages which it claims have incited communal violence in the northeast of the country. There had been fighting between Muslim settlers and local tribal groups in the state of Assam.

According to the Indian Government, the sites, as well as mass SMS phone messages, had frightened people from the northeast working in southern cities.

While Facebook, Google and Twitter were praised for helping the Arab Spring by facilitating the free flow of information, it seems that more established democracies are also starting to see the sites as a threat.

Google and Facebook are complying with Indian government requests to remove content. However Twitter has not said anything yet.

But the problem here is that the Indians are not just stopping with those particular Twitter accounts. According to Fox, it is trying to shut down the Twitter accounts of journalists who have criticised the government.

India has also thumped Al Jazeera news, as well as the Daily Telegraph and the Aussie Broadcasting Corporation, for stirring up trouble.

The moves appear to be a knee jerk reaction against anything which might “inflame passions.” But is also very often just bad press about botched government handling of a particular crisis.

The US government is also starting to get involved. As its relationship with Pakistan was revealed to be a sham, it appears to have been trying to cultivate India. Now it is finding that it has to leap to the defence of US companies, such as Google and Twitter.