Censorship alert: IAMC Urgently Demands Restoration of X Account Access in India
Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2023) — The Indian American Muslim Council, the U.S. oldest and largest advocacy organization committed to promoting justice, pluralism, and the civil rights of Indian Americans, is gravely concerned by the censorship of its account on X, formerly known as Twitter, in India.
On October 14, IAMC and its close ally Hindus for Human Rights (HFHR) learned that their X accounts were withheld in India in response to a “legal demand” from the Indian government. Two days after the suspension, X wrote IAMC to inform that the account has been withheld after X received “a legal removal demand from the Government of India… that claims the following content violates India’s Information Technology Act, 2000.” The Indian government’s sweeping and draconian Information Technology Act has already been used to censor many online users.
“IAMC’s X account serves as an important medium for Indian-American Muslims to shine light on Hindu nationalism and worsening human rights conditions of persecuted minority groups in India. Silencing our voice on social media is an affront not just to our organization but to the democracy in the United States and India,” said IAMC executive director Rasheed Ahmed. “X executive Elon Musk is working hand in glove with Modi’s authoritarian regime to block a U.S. based organization. X is accelerating the suppression of free expression and democracy in India and the U.S.”
The suspension of IAMC and HFHR’s accounts continues the Indian government’s broader crackdown on critical voices in media and politics, which escalated in recent weeks with the Indian government filing criminal charges against prominent novelist Arundhati Roy and raiding the offices of the Independent news organization NewsClick and arresting its editor-in-chief.
“With the alleged assassination of Canadian resident Hardeep Singh by Indian foreign agents, the censorship of U.S. based social media accounts, India’s repressive tactics now clearly pose an international threat to security and freedom of expression,” said IAMC President Mohammad Jawad.
IAMC calls on X to immediately restore access to its account in India. IAMC furthermore calls on the aid of the international community as it seeks to counter rising threats to its freedom of expression in India. IAMC is in close contact with its attorneys as it seeks legal recourse to challenge the withholding of its account. It joins with close allies as it continues to fight for the civil rights of India’s persecuted minorities and on behalf of freedom of speech everywhere.