Why were Indian ministers discussing ‘neutralising’ independent media as Covid-19 pandemic raged? – By Rohan Venkataramakrishnan
…. the report of a Group of Ministers who met six times over June and July 2020 – when the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant migrant crisis was still raging – reveals an insecure, paranoid government that seems more concerned with headlines and narrative than the underlying reality….
Outside of more efforts to “neutralise” those asking questions – as has been evident from the arrests and police cases filed by authorities against activists and journalists and its new rules for social media and digital news – as well as a state-run fact-checking operation that was called out for a falsehood by another government department, little appears to have changed in terms of government communication since those meetings.
…the only thing the document appears to have conclusively done is revealed that, no matter how politically stable the government may be, it appears deathly afraid of allowing any criticism or questioning and feels the need to use every lever possible to control the narrative, regardless of facts on the ground. What does that level of insecurity and paranoia tell us about a government that billed itself as the decisive, strong and honest option for Indian citizens?