No Twitter ban in India despite previous warning

Indian government has decided against banning Twitter over its role in triggering the recent exodus of residents from the country's northeast regions.

The Indian government has decided not to ban the use of Twitter in certain states, an action that was first prompted after content published on the microblogging site triggered the recent exodus of people from northeastern regions. 

Citing unnamed sources, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Sunday the country's department of electronics and IT (DEIT) had identified Twitter as one of the main triggers of the exodus last month. During that time, allegedly doctored content inciting Muslim retaliation went viral online, and resulted in a frenzied exodus of people from the northeastern regions who fled their homes. The government moved to block some 250 "erring" sites and imposed set a 15-day ban on bulk SMS and MMS services.

According to the sources, DEIT acted on the advice from the Home Ministry which said content and photographs on Twitter contributed to the panic and exodus. The department wanted to ban Twitter in eight Indian states--Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh--and consulted experts on how and whether it could be done.

However, M.K Narayanan, the national security adviser and Pulok Chatterjee, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, discouraged the move. The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) was of the opinion that "water supply cannot be switched off to an entire colony just because a few taps were giving bad water", the sources added.

It was also decided a review committee would be set up to monitor online content on Web sites such as Twitter.

On Saturday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his concerns on how the use of social media aggravated communal tensions in the country, PTI said in an earlier report.

Singh also said a strategy was needed to counter propaganda on social media sites, but it should not infringe upon the rights of freedom of expression .


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