The parliamentary standing committee for information and technology will meet at 4 pm on Friday at the Parliament House where Twitter officials have been summoned to appear before the committee. Officials from the Ministry of IT would also be present on the committee.
The subject for selection has been notified, “To hear the views of representatives of Twitter followed by evidence of representatives of the Ministry of Electronics, Information & Technology on ‘Safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space”.
Given the recent face-off between Twitter and the government of India, with Twitter now losing out on the legal shield after failing to abide by the intermediary rules may turn out to be a point of argument between the Opposition and the ruling BJP MPs.
Twitter recently was also embroiled in a controversy as it branded BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra’s tweet as ‘manipulated media’ over the alleged toolkit of the Congress party. The Indian government has stepped in and asked Twitter not to pass any judgement in the matter which was under investigation.
After losing out on any legal shell, now the government of Uttar Pradesh has also filed an FIR against the social blogging site along with a host of others including a journalist for sharing fake news relating to a man being assaulted in Loni in Ghaziabad.
The standing committee has been constantly engaged in a war of words between the ruling party and the Opposition with multiple arguments between its Chairman Dr Shashi Tharoor and BJP’s Nishikant Dubey. Dubey has even written a couple of letters to the Lok Sabha Speaker demanding the removal of Tharoor as the Committee chairman given his personal bias and has accused Tharoor of pursuing Congress’s agenda.
The issue of the alleged toolkit was also debated when Tharoor had sought a direct response on the issue from the IT Ministry as the chairman of the committee. Tharoor had claimed that as the chairman of the committee, he had the right to seek answers from the government.
Now all eyes are on Friday’s meeting and one can expect a lot of fireworks even as this committee has a larger presence of the BJP and its allies.