Free Speech Clash as India Bans Social Media Reporting of Covid-19 Outbreak

Mish

Aimed at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the move sets up a clash over free speech amid a widening political and public health crisis.

India Orders Social Media Posts to Be Taken Down

As a Covid-19 outbreak rages, India Orders Critical Social Media Posts to Be Taken Down.

With a devastating second wave of Covid-19 sweeping across India and lifesaving supplemental oxygen in short supply, India’s government on Sunday said it ordered Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to take down dozens of social media posts critical of its handling of the pandemic.

The order was aimed at roughly 100 posts that included critiques from opposition politicians and calls for Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, to resign. The government said that the posts could incite panic, used images out of context, and could hinder its response to the pandemic.

Squabbles over online speech in India are growing common. The Indian government, controlled by Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, has become increasingly aggressive at stifling dissent. 

Record Deaths

India set records for deaths for four consecutive days before the media ban.

Modi now bans social media reports shows overflowing hospital beds, oxygen shortages, and other gruesome images. 

On Censorship

What's the Real Score?

Apparently, if one cannot see such images, then they did not happen.

Sorry Modi, it does not work that way. In fact, I suggests it works in the opposite manner.

When news is suppressed, many people are likely to believe data is worse than reported. 

Do you believe India's "official" death counts? 

I don't and with India I never did. But with Modi suppressing reports one has to ask: What else are you lying about?

Mish

Comments (48)
No. 1-19
Tengen
Tengen

They have intentionally understated all along in India, particularly with cases or deaths in the slums. Whatever the count is in the rest of the country, the people are packed together more tightly in the slums and they receive far less medical treatment.

It's no secret that Modi doesn't like bad press and has no qualms about shutting down regional internet access (broadband and mobile) to stifle speech, something he does more than ONE HUNDRED times per year! In fact, India accounts for more shutdowns than the rest of the world combined. If people try to speak out, they get silenced.

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

"But with Modi suppressing reports one has to ask: What else are you lying about?”

Most things.

Like the way he lied about the reasons for eliminating the 500 and 1000 rupee notes...which took 86% of the total cash in the country out of circulation overnight.

In some ways, India is the test case for the Trumps and Trump clones of the world. If Modhi can do it and get away with it, then maybe they can too. Populists seem to thrive on lying...the bigger the lie, the more people seem to be ready to believe it, at least among important voting blocs.

Sechel
Sechel

India is a disaster and hardly the first nation to try and undercount. He'll states and the Feds tried this when Trump was President

Jojo
Jojo

"Modi now bans social media reports shows overflowing hospital beds, oxygen shortages, and other gruesome images. "

So much for India's so called democracy. But yet those images are all over CNN/MSNBC/NPR TV shows and more. I never knew that India had so many fat/overweight people! Life must be good. Or are only the wealthy able to eat western junk food getting hit, which is why the censorship is necessary?

I'd wager that the Indian death toll is much higher. But is still a comparatively small number when weighed against the 1.3 billion population.

And what of China, where it seems that they are an island of peace & tranquility in the Covid world, with little reporting on outbreaks or increasing deaths.

njbr
njbr

It is greatly under-reported.

The recent variations appear to jump past the apparent immunity provided in previous rounds by the the early TB vaccine.

India has a very low level of docters per thousand people, very few hospital beds and a miniscule number of ICU beds compared to population.

But a month or so ago, the BJP under Modi passed a resolution stating.. “It can be said with pride,” it read, that “India not only defeated Covid under the able, sensible, committed and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Modi, but also infused in all its citizens the confidence to build an Atma Nirbhar Bharat”......."The party unequivocally hails its leadership for introducing India to the world as a proud and victorious nation in the fight against Covid.”

And just like in the US, the Modi government got behind various "cures" that did not "cure"

The embarassment of an authoritarian, infallible leader over-rides the rights of the indivuals.

Doug78
Doug78

Official government sources lie when it suits them. Some media sources lie when it suits them too. They justify it as a "Noble Lie" although it rarely is for noble reasons. When people start to see through there lies that is when governments and some media cry out for some form of news suppression because their lies can't compete with the truth. When I see a journalist suppressed I immediately check them out. Sometimes they are worthless clunks but sometimes they are reputable journalists who have a passion for the truth and don't compromise with the powers that be whether in government or private media. I especially follow them because they are the ones who can truly investigate and report what they really see because they are free.

njbr
njbr

The almost vertical line of the graph showing the increase in cases points to the probability of a very dangerous mutation.

Sechel
Sechel

Like with Trump?

Sorry Modi, it does not work that way. In fact, I suggests it works in the opposite manner.

When news is suppressed, many people are likely to believe data is worse than reported.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Modi is the political equivalent of Trump. At some point he will pay the political price. Besides individuals can still post about how bad it is. Modi cant have it both ways. Just like Trump.

Godfree Roberts
Godfree Roberts

Based on the most recent evolutionary virological studies, which focus on the number of variants in host countries, the most likely source of Covid-19 is India, from which it spread to Northern Europe and America's East and West coasts.

Phaedrus_of_Bangkok
Phaedrus_of_Bangkok

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube regularly censor and delete content on Covid in the US and elsewhere too. Just try posting on any effective treatment options other than vaccines and watch how quickly your post will disappear. Do it a few times and watch your whole account disappear. India is just catching up.

killben
killben

Virus is not an election. It cannot be divided on caste lines. It cannot be won over with false promises.It cannot be won over with rhetoric and showmanship or muscle and money-power. It does not seem to like chest-beaters or those who claim victory at half-times. It shows you your place when you think you're a demi-god. Unfortunately the citizen pays a price. Like in a war...

Dutoit
Dutoit

There is the same kind of censorship in USA and Europe, except that it is not on the same subjects.

GeorgeWP
GeorgeWP

In the multicultural and connected world governments can’t yet suppress the truth. When COVID first broke out I had a workmate whose parents lived in the burbs of Wuhan. At first he was very worried, but their part of the city wasn’t greatly
affected. They knew of people who died, but no close acquaintances of them got sick. So when folk doubt that the Chinese outbreak was controlled I could see in the face of a son that is was true.

I also saw folk doubting the success of VietNam in suppressing the virus. Again I know from close friends that the cities were locked down, but people were wary and would have stayed off the streets anyway. I could see the live streams and the posts from family. But after a month restrictions were eased, the streets were packed again. Back to chaos, Their success is, so far, real.

Last year the South Asians at work were feeling good about how things were going. These are middle class folk, so in the slums it was probably not so good.

But now in our work group we have a Bangladeshi whose father has died and mother and brother are very sick, in the next group an Indian who lost his mother. Lots of worried family. The Indian outbreak is huge. And affecting Bangladesh and Afghanistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and probably Burma. All of South Asia and into SE Asia.

Sechel
Sechel

India is the worlds pharma factory. Ironic that they're so behind in vaccinations and scrambling to secure supply. India was supposed to be the source for Africa ad other 3rd world nations.

Carl_R
Carl_R

350k cases a day would be about the same as 83k a day in the US. Thus, if the official numbers were accurate, it would mean they are still under 1/3 of the US peak. Similarly, 2794 deaths in a day would be like 660 in the US, far under the 4400 the US saw at the peak. If true, this would be no big deal. Given that it apparently is a big deal, they cases are probably at least 4x the numbers reported, and probably higher.

indc
indc

Mish can complain about free speech as much as he wants, when it is used to spread rumors it will be suppressed. Even in US of A.

indc
indc

Why didn't mish write an article about greta toolkit fiasco. Just because you can hide behind freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to spread rumors and lies. During the 911 event did all the news channels start reporting about all the people died immediately after the events.

indc
indc

Why did my comment calling you stupi* white man with "white mans burden" deleted. Since I added a twitter link in there.


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