Bid seeks to shape positive international narrative, neutralize "adversaries"
TORONTO, May 30, 2018 /CNW/ - In an alarming development, news media revealed yesterday that the Indian government is aggressively seeking to promote nationalism and combat "adversaries" globally in the lead-up to national elections.
The government wants to hire a company to provide analytical software to monitor social media and internet forums, down to the level of individual users, and disseminate information on behalf of the government. (See Iain Marlow, "India Wants a New Media Command Room to Help Boost Nationalism," Bloomberg (29 May 2018))
Sikhs on Media made the following statement in response:
"The Indian government has come under sharp criticism for its human rights record, particularly in relation to minorities and to women and girls. Rather than trying to improve the situation, it has moved to shut its critics down, characterizing any vocal supporters of human rights at home or abroad as 'extremists.'
"Worryingly, India has become more divided on sectarian lines since Narendra Modi's election as Prime Minister in 2014. Tactics like the ones revealed yesterday will only serve to harden those divisions and make sectarian violence worse. Further, they foster tensions abroad between communities that are drawn into these issues and narratives.
"However, we are not surprised. The Indian government regularly uses similar methods against Canada's Sikh community for political reasons. Recent examples include issues raised during the Canadian Prime Minister's visit to India earlier this year and, cynically, a statement in response to the restaurant bombing in Mississauga last week.
"Given these troubling developments, media should carefully consider the source of the information and the political agenda behind it when reporting on Canada's Sikh community."
Sikhs on Media is a group of Canadians dedicated to helping the media and public better understand Sikhs and Sikh issues. We're here to help reporters get the full story on the challenges that affect us and to promote fair and accurate reporting about our community.
SOURCE Sikhs on Media
For further information: Media contact: Sarbjit Kaur, [email protected], 416-274-5324