In India, social media is a lifeline. It’s being silenced. – By Francesca Recchia and Suchitra Vijayan
….Since 2014, the Indian government has built an incredibly efficient communication machine that aims to criminalize dissent, spread fake news through its IT cells, and censor or distort information related to protests and democratic opposition…. As the BJP government employs similar strategies to censor and intimidate voices critical of its mishandling of the covid-19 crisis on social media, India is seeing an unprecedented surge in covid-19 cases and deaths….
The Modi government has been accused of manipulating and misrepresenting gross domestic product numbers and hate-crime data and, most recently, grossly underreporting covid-19 deaths. In the absence of credible information, many organizations use social media to provide information to the public and demand transparency and accountability from authorities.
These restrictions shed light on how digital authoritarianism works to surveil, repress and intimidate many of us working on documenting negligence and institutionalized human rights violations.