Skip to content

Seems reasonable, really

Tech companies — including Twitter — are following the Indian government’s demands to suppress a BBC documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As reported by The Intercept and TechCrunch, Twitter and YouTube both locally blocked The Modi Question, which investigates claims of Modi’s involvement in India’s deadly 2002 Gujarat riots. It’s one of Twitter’s first tangles with India under the ownership of billionaire Elon Musk, but contrary to some writing, the documentary’s ban isn’t an example of Musk violating a vocal “free speech absolutist” ethos. It’s a reminder that Musk has always been fine with government censorship.

The government are the people who make the law for that place. Are we expecting – would we prefer – foreign companies not to obey the law in that place?

Or are we being colonialist again? Of course, all corporations must obey our law, but not those of those funny brown people in foreign?

9 thoughts on “Seems reasonable, really”

  1. It is not obeying the law though, is it? It is obeying a request from the Indian government. The Modi documentary is perfectly legal under Indian law.

  2. They aren’t being colonialist – it is just old-fashioned “licence they mean when they cry ‘liberty'”.
    [Incidentally, Musk is on record as not knowing about the decision so the comment about his violating “free speech” or liking censorship is just a totally unsubstantiated smear.]
    They want Twitter and everyone else to obey the laws that *they* like and disobey they the ones *they* dislike.

  3. It’s not so much a matter of law as “when in Rome.” Presumably Twitter is not being treated differently from Indian countries.

  4. ‘… Of course, all corporations must obey our law…’

    Wasn’t that the defence of many at Nuremberg? The Government told us to do it, we were just obeying the law.

    Twitter is not obkiged, nit can it be forced, to obey an Indian law, it could withdraw from India.

  5. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    Remember folks, the bird flying to EU political rules – good.

    Musk obeying evil brown peoples rules – bad.

    © The modern left

  6. JohnB

    I believe there is a difference between

    – employees/agents of a government committing grievous bodily harm to folk, and killing them, because they were told to by agents of that government, when such acts are generally classed as crimes and generally agreed to be Very Bad;

    – and a company choosing not to publish something because the government has asked it not to, or because it’s against local laws.

    Yes, of course Twitter (etc) could withdraw from India. That would benefit who, how? [Well, yes, it’s Twitter, so the argument is weaker than for example, Apple]

    This is a governmental issue. If it’s important, other governments would intervene with the Indian government.

  7. “Locally blocked” LOL.

    Yet the NBA cravenly block ALL criticism of China by its members and the luvvies barely mention it.

    It’s not what you do, it’s which side you are (supposed) to be on.

  8. Are unalienable rights universal?

    Should freedom of speech be a self-evident, natural, unlienable right and can we beam it in to individuals regardless of what their government thinks?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *