How easy is our PM Narendra Modi

Indian government censors critical social media posts to combat corona

In the midst of a catastrophic corona wave, the Indian government has instructed the major social media platforms to censor criticism of how the pandemic is being dealt with.

India is currently going through a catastrophic corona wave. Hospitals have to turn away patients en masse, crematoria work around the clock. In tweets, Facebook posts and WhatsApp groups, relatives of Covid sufferers are desperately looking for oxygen bottles, which are in short supply across the country.

Meanwhile, the Hindu nationalist government around Prime Minister Narendra Modi is bothered by social media posts that criticize their handling of the pandemic. As the "New York Times" reports, more than 100 posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been blocked by government orders in India.

The blocked posts come from opposition politicians, journalists and film stars. According to the government, the posts would cause panic or could hinder the fight against the pandemic.

Modi criticism undesirable

One of the tweets concerned comes from Moloy Ghatak, Minister of Labor in the state of West Bengal. He accused Modi of mismanagement and compared him to the Roman emperor Nero. To this end, he juxtaposed photographs of the Prime Minister's election campaign events and those of burning corpses.

According to Twitter, local laws are being followed and, if the order is given, the criticized tweets in India are made invisible even to users. Outside of India, the tweets are still available as shown above. Facebook also followed the Indian government's censorship orders.

This has recently been increasingly taking action against criticism, not only on the subject of Corona. As early as February, following farmers' protests, new ordinances were issued that oblige social media companies to delete content that the government does not like within three days. Indian employees of the companies are threatened with imprisonment in order to force the companies to cooperate.

India is particularly powerful

The mostly American social media companies and the increasingly authoritarian Modi government are therefore increasingly on a course of confrontation. In order to be able to continue doing business in the second largest country in the world, the companies are still ready to give in.

In Myanmar, on the other hand, Facebook, for example, has decided not to follow the instructions of the military regime and, on the contrary, to delete its Facebook pages. In India, which is much larger and more powerful, it is obviously more difficult for social media companies to stand up for their principles.