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X Withholds Mandeep Punia’s Gaon Savera Channel: Another Blow to Press Freedom?

Twitter's Withholding of Mandeep Punia's Channel Raises Alarms Over Press Freedom and Government Influence on Social Media Platforms.

The recent withholding of Mandeep Punia’s Gaon Savera channel on X (Foremly Twitter) has once again sparked concerns over press freedom in India. Punia, a journalist known for his coverage of the farmer protests and his fearless reporting, has been a vocal critic of the government’s handling of various issues.

Many may recall Punia’s arrest during the farmer protests of 2021, where he was detained by the police and later released on bail. Despite facing brutal treatment in custody, Punia remained resolute in his commitment to reporting on “people persecuted by those in power.”

His NDTV interview, which garnered over a million views in just 24 hours on YouTube, highlighted Punia’s popularity and the widespread support for his journalism. His determination to cover ground realities and amplify the voices of the marginalized has earned him respect and admiration among viewers.

However, the recent withholding of Punia’s Gaon Savera channel, along with his personal X (Twitter) account, has raised eyebrows. This move comes amidst Punia’s continuous reporting on the farmer protests from the Delhi-Haryana border, indicating possible censorship of dissenting voices.

X (Foremly) Twitter Withholds Mandeep Punia's Gaon Savera Channel: Another Blow to Press Freedom?
X Withheld @GaonSavera & @mandeeppunia1

Punia’s response to this setback has been swift. He has launched a new channel named ‘Garvit Garg‘ to continue his reporting on the farmers’ movement. In announcing this development, Punia reaffirmed his commitment to delivering ground reports despite facing obstacles from social media platforms like X (Twitter).

This incident is not an isolated one. It reflects a broader trend of social media platforms withholding accounts critical of the government. Such actions raise questions about the role of these platforms in curbing press freedom and stifling dissenting voices.

Critics argue that platforms like Twitter should uphold principles of free speech and not succumb to pressure from governments. They question the transparency and fairness of Twitter’s internal policies, particularly when it comes to suspending journalist or news channels’ accounts.

Moreover, the timing of this withholding raises concerns about the independence of social media platforms and their susceptibility to government influence. As India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi champions democracy on the global stage, the crackdown on dissent within the country’s borders presents a stark contrast.

In conclusion, the withholding of Mandeep Punia’s Gaon Savera channel underscores the challenges faced by journalists in India and the broader implications for press freedom. It serves as a reminder of the crucial role of independent journalism in holding those in power accountable and upholding democratic values.


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