Online Media as a Tool of Resistance to the Suppressive Tendencies of the Indian Government

Abstract:

Since independence the Indian Media have been generally free except during the period of Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi between 1975-77. The two years of press censorship was resisted vehemently by a major section of Indian media. In fact the opposition by the media of the dictatorial tendencies of Mrs. Gandhi resulted in her Congress Party (a party which ruled India since independence in 1947) receiving a humiliating defeat in the general elections in 1978. For, freedom of speech and expression is a core value close to the heart of the people in India, the largest democracy of the world. Since then governments in India have been sensitive to this aspect of democratic life. But then came Mr. Narendra Modi’s Hindutva right wing government riding on the promise of development.  However, even during the general election campaign of 2014 there were apprehensions about his would be attitude towards differing views and pluralistic ideas. Since the time Modi has come to power the Indian media has largely been bought up by the government using various veiled threats. This is only a small part of a larger plan to suppress voices of freedom be that comes from the intelligentsia, social movements, students’ movements, and Non-Governmental organizations. Modi government has tried to influence even the foreign media to spread solely its views. The more the government has tried to control the flow of information by negatively influencing the mainstream media in India the more the intelligentsia, students’ movements, and non-governmental organizations have taken to the online media.  Some of these online media platforms are: the citizen.in, the wire.in, jantakareporter.com, thehoot.org, scroll.in, newslaundry.com, carvandaily.com, just to name a few. Sure, the still existing digital divide in India leaves them at a disadvantage compared to the reach of the mainstream media. The study would like to argue that internet media can facilitate the formation of an active online ‘counterpublic’ offering resistance to the official version of issues, and events and present an alternative view.

Cost: Full paper (7564 words) is available for Rs 300

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