A Gurugram court has summoned Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma over it’s former Indian employee’s charges that he was wrongfully fired after objecting to censorship and fake news on company apps like UC Browser and UC News, reports Reuters. Alibaba owns UC Browser and UC News which have been accused of censoring content unfavourable to China and spread news which could cause turmoil in India.
The Reuters report says that as per the court filings dated July 20, a former employee of Alibaba’s UC Web, Pushpandra Singh Parmar, has sued the company for wrongfully firing him after he questioned the censorship of news and content unfavourable to China on its apps. Parmar has also charged that the company’s app like UC Browser and UC News showcased false news “to cause social and political turmoil” in India.
Pushpandra Singh Parmar worked as an associate director at the UC Web office in Gurugram until October 2017 when he was fired. He alleges that he was fired as he objected to the censorship and fake news. As per Reuters, he is seeking $268,000 in damages.
Based on Parmar’s complaint, the district court in Gurugram has issued summons for Alibaba, Jack Ma and about a dozen individuals or company units, asking them to appear in court or through a lawyer on July 29, reports Reuters as per the documents it has seen. The judge has also sought written responses from the company and its executives within 30 days, according to the summons.
UC India has refused to comment on the ongoing litigation but has siad that it has been ““unwavering in its commitment to the India market and the welfare of its local employees, and its policies are in compliance with local laws”. Alibaba representatives did not respond to requests for comment from the Chinese company or on behalf of Jack Ma.
India had banned 59 apps which posed security threat to the country and consumers in June and last week further banned 47 apps which were mirror apps of those which were already banned. It has been known for long that Chinese apps censor content unfavourable to the Chinese Government as was done in apps like Tik Tok. Such apps also allowed Hinduphobic content to thrive on their platforms but any content seen as against China was removed immediately. Pushpandra Singh Parmar’s charges give credence to the fact that China was censoring any content not in its favor throught is companies and apps across the world.
However, this is not the first instance when a former employee of a Chinese company has come forward with claims of censorship and fake news. In May, a lady employee of a Chinese app company Helo had quit after she was unable to bear the demands from the company to censor content unfavourable to China but was asked not to do anything about news which was not in India’s interests.