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Friday, April 12, 2024
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The Dark Reign Of Modi

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M. Ali Siddiqui
M. Ali Siddiqui
Muhammad Ali Siddiqui is a writer who contributes to leading periodicals

It is widely acknowledged that India under Narendra Modi’s BJP regime is the worst form of electoral aristocracy. Modi’s ten-year tenure at the helm is rated to have become the very despicable form of electoral authoritarianism that has given rise to international condemnation.

Media regime has so far successfully utilised its economic clout to blunt international reaction against its xenophobic policies and has also taken advantage of the current American tilt towards it as the prevailing notion is that India will work as a bulwark against Chinese influence in the region.

The generally accepted description of electoral autocracy is that it undertakes multiplicity of electoral exercises though these processes lack fundamental requisites such as freedom of expression and association. It also suffers from intelligently carried out electoral malpractices though efforts are made to declare them fair and free. Modi regime has resorted to frequent use of state power to silence any opposition particularly the regulations pertaining to sedition, defamation and counterterrorism.

The Modi regime brought about a nasty amendment to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2019 that permitted the Union government to proscribe individuals as terrorists and this blanket regulation has played into the hands of the BJP regime. In addition, BJP government has incessantly suppressed freedom of religion targeting not only Muslims but Christians in equal measure causing widespread condemnation around the globe.

It is recently reported that along with El Salvador and Mauritius, BJP-led regime is at the forefront of indiscriminately censoring the media. BJP regime is notorious for blocking internet services to suppress dissent against it. In this context, it blocked internet services in Indian-held Kashmir for an inordinately long period of time despite international protestation.

Though Modi may win a third term in office yet his rule has pushed India towards autocratisation that has proved widely harmful for the people of the country. It is now widely acknowledged that Indian governance has experienced a veritable decline in democratic values and practices. The regime has a lengthening record of flouting the rights of the minorities as well as curbing the civil society.

It is observed by many observers that the process of autocratisation in India has reached high levels including sustained deterioration of freedom of expression and hindering independence of the media. BJP regime has consistently and methodically curbed social media and has frequently harassed journalists criticising Modi government. On the other hand, it has used extensive methods to carry out nefarious propaganda against its opponents both inside and out of the country.

BJP government is particularly severe on its neighbouring countries and is heavily engaged in spreading wrong and harmful propaganda against them. The Modi regime has embarked upon churning out false narratives with a view to demoralise the people of the region. Its media apparatus is extremely unscrupulous in its orientation and never hesitates to cross lines of decent and responsible behaviour. Instead of protecting rights of its suppressed minorities the BJP regime instigates rebellious narratives that are designed to harm its targets. The tyranny of the majority is extremely burdensome but Modi conveniently ignores its perils. It pays scant heed to the international voices objecting to its poisonous conduct and feels free to continue with the same policies.

Pakistan is already aware of the fifth-generation warfare initiated by India and is being relentlessly pursued by it. It is essential to develop a comprehensive system to counter the venomous Indian media attacks. The system should incorporate robust techniques to offset the impact of negative narratives. A round-the-clock monitoring system is required to function at all levels of media contacts. It is imperative to address the modes of negative behaviour particularly hate speech, harassment and misinformation. The best way to do it is to provide factual and precise information to media portals so that it is widely disseminated. There is no short cut to accurate information based on logic and rationality.

It is also important to create awareness amongst the media people and public in general about the pitfalls associated with misinformation and rumour mongering. The media portals should be made aware of the serious responsibility regarding narrative building and it should be emphasised that it should not be based upon hearsay or inuendo. It is of extreme importance that a congenial atmosphere is created within the spectrum of digital platforms as they form very basic initial information infrastructure. Media portals should be exhorted to carry out appropriate accountability of their content and conduct so that negative tendencies are firmly curbed.

It is also advisable to develop a healthy collaboration between governmental agencies, civil society fabric and media outfits with a view to curb extremist and contentious tendencies that go a long way in creating a positive and passive atmosphere for policy and social debates. It should be the aim of the media managers to create a harmonious interactive public platform that would pave the way for constructive dialogue and fruitful discussions.

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