As hospitals in India run out of oxygen and the country continues to set alarming records for confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths, officials have ordered Twitter to take down social media posts critical of the government’s pandemic response.
At least 52 tweets from prominent figures, including opposition politicians, journalists and filmmakers, have been censored, according to the Lumen Database, a Harvard University initiative that tracks takedown requests. Although some of the posts in question contain potentially misleading information, others simply document the scale of India’s disastrous outbreak or express frustration with the country’s leaders.
One of the blocked posts, by an opposition party leader, said that people in India would “never forgive” Prime Minister Narendra Modi “for underplaying the corona situation in the country and letting so many people die due to mismanagement.” Another, from a Reuters photographer, contained images of grieving mourners, packed hospitals and a busy cremation site. Additional censored posts decried shortages of coronavirus tests, showed patients being treated in makeshift tents or called for Modi’s resignation.
Twitter said that the posts, which remain visible in the United States and other parts of the world, are being blocked in India in accordance with local regulations.