Kashif Kakvi tweeted, in the backdrop of the ongoing debate on population control, that several MLAs and MPs in the state had more than two children.
Kashif Kakvi, a Newsclick journalist, had to take down a tweet on July 28 after getting a notice from Twitter. The tweet, posted on July 20, featured in a thread promoting Kashif’s report about how several legislators and MPs in Madhya Pradesh had more than two children. The report, in turn, was occasioned by the population control bill brought by Uttar Pradesh’s Adityanath government seeking to implement a two-child norm. Similar reports were subsequently carried by the Times of India and NDTV.
“This document has been taken from the website of the MP Assembly. It is based on information submitted by the MLAs themselves. Since #PopulationControl is an election issue which has been brought into limelight with respect to a particular community, I would like to tell everyone that in Madhya Pradesh, minorities constitute 10 percent but it would be 90 percent who will face trouble,” Kashif said in the tweet.
On July 28, he received a warning from Twitter. His tweet “had violated rules specifically for posting private information”, the social media company said. “You may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorisation and permission.”
As a result, the notice added, “We’ve temporarily limited some of your account features...You can still browse Twitter, but you are limited to only sending Direct Messages to your followers, no Tweets, Retweets, Fleets, follows or likes.”
To restore his account to full functionality, Kashif could either delete the tweet or file an appeal. “I filed an appeal at around 8.30 am and again at around 6.30 pm. Since there was no reply and I was facing inconvenience due to the restricted activity, I decided to delete the tweet,” Kashif said.
The journalist, however, insisted that he had not violated any privacy guidelines. “Since the document was from the official website of the MP assembly, all this information was already in the public domain,” he explained. “I had also blurred the landline numbers of MLAs before sharing the list on Twitter. So how does it imply sharing private information?”
In May this year, Kashif had got a similar notice for tweeting a picture of a half-burnt body at a Bhopal crematorium with the caption noting that “there is not sufficient wood available to perform last rites” of all the bodies. Kashif claimed that he’d blurred the picture of the corpse before posting it but still got the warning, which led him to delete the tweet.
Amrita Tripathi, head of news partnerships, Twitter India, wasn’t immediately available for comment. We will update the report if there’s a response.