Tamil Guardian news outlet has Instagram removed again 12 hours after reactivation

Tamil Guardian, a London-based news site, had its Instagram account disabled again on Friday just 12 hours after being reactivated.

“Our work is crucial and it is being silenced,” the outlet said in a statement.

Tamil Guardian said that it posted one breaking news story after the Instagram account was reactivated “which garnered thousands of likes within hours.”

“Within 12 hours of reactivating our account, Instagram has inexplicably disabled Tamil Guardian’s page once more, without warning or explanation,” they announced.

The paper claimed that it has over 19,000 followers on Instagram.

The newspaper noted on Friday that it tried to reach out to Facebook (now Meta) and Instagram to understand the issue, but it has not received any explanation for having the account repeatedly deactivated and posts removed.

Tamil Guardian claimed that its Instagram account was disabled again 12 hours after it has been activated on Friday. Above, an illustration shows the logos of social media applications, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook is displayed on the screen of an iPhone on October 6, 2021, in Paris, France.
Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images

Tamil Guardian pointed out that it published an article revealing that the Sri Lankan regime is trying to silence Tamil people online, including their outlet, as the state reportedly jails journalists and fights freedom of expression.

Though the paper didn’t confirm whether Facebook had a connection with the Sri Lankan regime in these silencing efforts, it said that the platform “will be guilty of colluding with a racist and authoritarian state.”

“We demand urgent and immediate action from Meta and Instagram. This can not continue,” Tamil Guardian’s statement read.

Before the second deactivation, the Tamil Guardian’s account was first disabled for 48 hours “without warning.”

“The censoring of Tamil voices on these social media platforms, however, needs to stop immediately. It has gone on for far too long and it is stifling. We demand a full explanation as to why this keeps occurring and a full review of Facebook’s policies towards Eelam Tamil content on its platform,” the outlet said in a statement.

This is completely unacceptable! The APPG for Tamils will be making urgent representations to Instagram over this very worrying move. https://t.co/9dfbEgsg9i

— Elliot Colburn MP (@ElliotColburn) October 28, 2021

The removal of Tamil Guardian’s Instagram account and its posts on the social media platform outraged a number of U.K. and Canadian officials and politicians who on Thursday called for Instagram to reinstate the paper’s account.

Elliot Colburn, British Parliament member and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Tamils called the ban “completely unacceptable.” Sam Tarry, a parliament member for Ilford South, said he is concerned about online censorship and added that Tamil Guardian has a role in exposing “the injustice inflicted on Tamil people.”

“This is an extremely worrying act of online censorship. The Tamil Guardian has played a pivotal role in exposing the injustices inflicted on the #Tamil people in Sri Lanka and providing a voice to the oppressed. I call on Facebook and instagram to reverse this decision,” Tarry tweeted on Thursday.

Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Canada, described the removal of the Instagram account as “outrageous” and demanded that it would be “immediately” restored.

Tamil Guardian claimed that it has been censored on Facebook and Instagram before when some of its posts were removed in recent years “for supposedly violating Facebook’s community guidelines.”

Newsweek contacted Meta for comment.

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