Serbia says Twitter suspended accounts of its diplomatic offices ‘without explanation’

The Serbian Foreign Ministry protested against the ‘censorship’ of seven of its embassies and a consulate and urged Twitter to restore the accounts.

Serbia says Twitter suspended accounts of its diplomatic offices ‘without explanation’

The Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a press release on August 22 that the Twitter accounts of Serbian embassies in a number of countries had been suspended without a reason. The Ministry described the suspension as unacceptable censorship of the diplomatic offices of a democratic state that is not subject to sanctions.

According to the Serbian Ministry, the following Twitter accounts have been suspended: the general consulate in Chicago, the Serbian embassies in Armenia, Iran, Indonesia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ghana, and Kuwait, as well as the Serbian diplomatic missions in Chicago.

These accounts were suspended “with no explanation or warning to indicate any violation of the rules of communication on that social media network”, the Serbian Foreign Ministry said.

Serbia, according to the statement, is a country that is strategically committed to joining the EU and holds political and democratic freedoms, including media freedom, to the “highest European standards.” The Ministry claimed that it had written to Twitter to request that its service unblock the diplomatic offices of Serbia.

Serbia also noted that the Twitter account of former French far-right presidential candidate Arnaud Gouillon, who is now the director of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, was blocked “without explanation” last week and then unblocked.

Serbia requests accounts be unblocked on Twitter

Serbia has requested that the accounts be unblocked on Twitter. Serbia, as “a country strategically committed to membership in the European Union,” finds it absurd that a number of its diplomatic and consular offices “were censored on a social network that boasts of promoting democracy and pluralism of opinion,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in its statement.

Aside from the embassy accounts, 13 ruling party MPs and other government officials had their accounts suspended as well. They were informed it was because they had violated Twitter’s rules, according to screenshots that some of those whose accounts were suspended posted, Euractiv reported. Notably, a number of media portals have been identified as being under the control of the government or political pressure after Twitter cracked down on Serbian Twitter accounts in recent years.

Moreover, for promoting the dominant party in Serbia in 2020, about 8,500 Twitter accounts were suspended. Accounts with a Serbian location have, in the recent past, been frequently found to be involved in regionally impacting disinformation campaigns, including those involving Kosovo and issues of religious or racial division, according to media reports.

(With agency inputs, Image: AP)

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