The social media handles of independent news website Gaon Savera were blocked this week. The website’s Twitter account was withheld in India on Tuesday, and its Facebook page has been inaccessible since Monday.
Mandeep Punia, the editor of Gaon Savera, told Newslaundry the website did not receive any communication from Facebook, now Meta, before the suspension of its page. Newslaundry reached out to the social media giant but did not receive a response.
Twitter, now X, sent Gaon Savera an email saying the account was withheld following “correspondence received from the government of India”. “The correspondence claims that your account is in violation of India’s Information Technology Act, 2000,” the email said.
Punia told Newslaundry he believes the government’s action is linked to the , which Gaon Savera has been covering in-depth.
“The government takes action when you start providing concrete information about the rural crisis,” he said. “They don't want you to report on how farmers and workers are mobilising to combat this rural crisis.”
Just last week, the website and social media accounts of The Kashmir Walla were . The independent news website issued a statement on August 19 saying it was also “served an eviction notice by the landlord of our office in Srinagar”.
The Delhi Union of Journalists on The Kashmir Walla and Gaon Savera, saying “closing down news portals, YouTube channels and social media accounts is becoming a common tactic by governments, both in the states and at the centre”.
In June, former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey had said in an interview that the Indian government had threatened to shut down the social media platform over the farmer protests in 2020-21. Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar called it an “outright lie”. .