Defence minister Rajnath Singh believes the media should be independent, but warns that “efforts are made to misuse it in the name of freedom of expression to establish and propagate dangerous and divisive ideas”.
This was part of a speech he gave on October 17 during a university convocation ceremony in Gandhinagar, as . Not just the media – Singh warned that “social media, NGOs and the judiciary” are also at risk of being misused for nefarious purposes.
“An independent social media can be used to carry out systematic propaganda,” he said, as per Express’s translation of his remarks in Hindi. “...If NGOs are independent, then efforts are made to use them in a way that the entire system is paralysed. If the judiciary is independent, then legal norms and loopholes are used to stop development works. The country’s unity and security in our dynamic democracy is attempted to be attacked by infiltrating political parties.”
Singh also warned of youths being involved in “terrorism” despite being educated. “Information warfare through WhatsApp and Facebook is brought into society through fake news and hate content...Wrong facts are spread which propagates hate,” he said.
It should be remembered that India is when it comes to freedom of the press. Reporters Without Borders characterised press freedom in India as being in “crisis”, where “Indian journalists who are too critical of the government are subjected to all-out harassment and attack campaigns”.
Read on how India’s media is under siege, but the electorate doesn’t seem to care.