Twitter Seeks Judicial Review Of ‘Arbitrary, Disproportionate’ Takedown Orders; Journalist’s Existential Crisis Is Unprecedented
Possible Wang-Jaishankar meet on G20 sidelines, How Razorpay crumbled, Ayodhya wards may be renamed for demolition ‘heroes’, Edgbaston fans face racism probe, Rahman's Moonlight Sonata
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
July 6, 2022
After opening a diplomatic mission in Taliban-run Kabul and sending aid to Afghanistan, the Modi government has decided to hand over Ayni airport to Tajikistan. Last month, India also handed over the India-Tajikistan Friendship Hospital in the Bokhtar region, which was developed and refurbished into a 50-bed hospital. Before 2001, India used the airport and hospital to support the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. Ahmad Shah Massoud died in the Friendship Hospital after a suicide bomb attack.
The BJP is in a spot for harbouring ‘terrorists’ in J&K. Embarrassed by the fact that a member of its IT cell was unveiled as Lashkar or “LeT terrorist” Talib Hussain Shah, the BJP has issued a show-cause notice to Jammu Minority Morcha president Sheikh Bashir after an order purportedly written by him about the appointment of Shah emerged on social media platforms.
As we noted in brief yesterday because the news had just broken, Twitter has moved the Karnataka High Court against the Union government’s orders to take down content on its platform. The company is arguing that the content blocking orders of the IT Ministry do not pass “the test of the grounds provided under Section 69A of the IT Act”. Twitter has alleged in its writ petition that multiple accounts and content included in the blocking orders are either “overbroad and arbitrary”, fail to provide notice to the “originators” of the content, or are “disproportionate” in several cases. Twitter says that several blocking orders it received only “cite” the ground of Section 69A but fail to demonstrate how the content is “violative” of Section 69A. In June, the IT Ministry had warned Twitter of strict action if it does not comply with some content takedown orders. Twitter has sought judicial review of some of the content that is part of various blocking orders, requesting relief from the court to set aside these orders.
In 2021, Google released data on content removal requests by the governments of 99 countries. India was ranked third, after Russia and South Korea, with a 7% share. In the 11 years for which Google has released these reports, four countries have featured in the top 10 list every year. India is one.The others are Brazil, Turkey and the US. There’s company at the top.
The rupee fell by 38 paise to close at its new lifetime low of 79.33 against the US dollar yesterday. On Monday, the rupee had closed at 78.95. India has witnessed record outflows of around $31 billion this year. The impex gap rose to $25.6 billion in June from $24.3 billion in May.
Household LPG gas cylinder prices rose again today by Rs 50. A refill will cost Rs 1,053 in Delhi now.
The Enforcement Directorate yesterday conducted searches at 44 places across the country in a money-laundering investigation against Chinese smartphone manufacturing company Vivo and related firms. The searches were carried out under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Corporate India now pays more cash to shareholders by way of equity dividends and share buybacks than it reinvests in future growth. In 2021-22 (FY22), listed non-financial companies returned a record Rs 3.05 trillion to their shareholders through dividends and share buybacks, but invested only Rs 1.12 trillion in fixed assets. Annual investment in fixed assets in FY22 was down 49.1% year-on-year (YoY), while total payout to shareholders was up 18.8% YoY. The trend was seen last year, too.
A key trade union at Coal India warns that workers may strike over delays by the state-owned firm in finalising pay hikes, complicating efforts to meet soaring fuel demand. Workers are seeking a 47% hike ― down from the earlier demand of 50% ― while Coal India has offered a 3% raise. Unions have written to Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi urging him to intervene and conclude negotiations. Wages of non-executive workers, which account for 94% of Coal India’s workforce, are revised every five years. The latest agreement is intended to cover salaries from July 2021, and will be applied retroactively.
Business Standard reports that BJP-ruled UP and Gujarat have asked the Union government to restore the wheat quota under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and Gareeb Kalyan Scheme. It was partly replaced by rice a few months back to ensure adequate wheat stocks at the end of the current fiscal, after domestic procurement dropped to multi-year lows because of poor production and the ill-advised plan to feed the world.
BJP floor leader in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Nainar Nagendran wants Tamil Nadu to be bifurcated and made into two states. He was responding to DMK MP A Raja’s statement that the Union government should not push them towards the demand for a “separate nation”. Nagendran, MLA from Tirunelveli, also said the BJP and PM Modi can “bifurcate Tamil Nadu” as “we are the deciding authority”.
Government documents have unveiled that 8.5 lakh trees will be cut down in the evergreen rainforests of Great Nicobar Island for so-called development projects.
Saying that an alarming number of criminals are reaching Parliament and the state Assembly, the Allahabad High Court has denied bail to BSP MP Atul Rai. The court has asked the Parliament and Election Commission of India to take effective measures to wean away criminals from politics and break the unholy nexus between criminal politicians and bureaucrats.
The Delhi Police have registered a case against Leena Manikalai after a lawyer filed a complaint against her over a poster of her documentary film, Kaali. Now there is talk of an FIR against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Mitra, who said in Calcutta yesterday that people are free to worship Kaali the way they want and that her own Kaali eats meat an drinks liquor. "Bring it on BJP! Am a Kali worshipper. I am not afraid of anything,” she tweeted when news of the FIR against her broke. “Not your ignoramuses. Not your goons. Not your police. And most certainly not your trolls. Truth doesn't need back up forces."
West Midlands police in the UK have launched a criminal investigation into the behaviour of fans at Edgbaston during the fourth day of England’s dramatic Test victory over India after allegations of racist abuse in the stands.