Friday, December 1, 2023

Just can’t ignore Twitter & NYT bravados

By Bimal Prasad Mohapatra

Enough is enough. Now India is a sovereign nation and self-ruled for seven decades, third largest economy in purchasing power parity (PPP) and a significant military power. These achievements are not any nation’s donation to India. And these achievements happened despite several centuries of invasions and occupations of foreign powers apart from uncalculated plunders by Islamists over seven centuries and loot of $45trillions worth of resources from late 18th Century to 1947 by Britain alone.

If the citizens of India won’t wake up now against the all-round, well-planned and organized assaults on our national sovereignty and cultural ethos by our neighbour ruled by economic and military giant Communist China in one hand and the so-called vanguard of world’s democracies and theirs media, Think Tanks and civil society based in Developed West on the other, forget that there will ever have any time for India to recoup. And, in the process, the human civilization will lose the existence of one of the world’s oldest and vibrant civilization -a human civilization’s wealthy heritage- as well as others such as Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc. which survives from Abrahamic (Islamic and Evangelist) assaults in truncated India on the strength of Hinduism till now.

Those who are against Hinduism in the name of Western developed and interpreted secularism, they should not forget that India is secular only because India is Hindu majority. This author says so in confidence because we have seen in South Asia per example in Pakistan and Bangladesh which were separated from India that they have lost their secular and liberal characters after they were made non-Hindu majorities. Unfortunately, Western intelligentsia and Indian intelligentsia, later proud of being educated in Oxbridge-Harvard, can’t see this negative development or they are blinded by their vested interest a la Jay Chandra and Mirzafar.

The US headquartered micro blogging giant Twitter refuses to comply with Indian sovereign law despite several internationally accepted dignified intimations and warning with due patience under due judicial oversight –unseen even in the most of the Western self-designated liberal democratic countries- during last several months by the Government of India. In the meanwhile, this said social media was caught by law enforcement agencies for providing platform to elements having dubious law abiding credential to circulate fake news, and their views and opinion detrimental to India’s social harmony. Is the social media above the law of the land or India is a subjugated country of social media, which is owned by a few corporate style share-holders to a great extent comparable with erstwhile East India Company -primarily a business enterprise for profit-, yet wants to teach freedom of expression -the core value in democratic system of governance- to the largest democracy in the world.

To not abide the laws of the land and to remain free from any accountability, the social media Twitter invented several dubious means, purportedly to fool law enforcement agencies while providing platform to anti-Indian forces with plea to protect its account-holders’ Freedom of Expression, such as: (1) In regard to appointment of Resident Grievance Officer, an important functionary as per new IT Act 2021, it, to start with, after months of hesitation, informed the government the name of an advocate, who is not in the social media payroll and therefore rejected, and in the process, several days time was lost which was misused. (2) In one fine morning, it was found that its India operation head, technically called Managing Director, Manish Maheswari is no more MD. He was instead found in-charge of business expansion, advertisement, etc. with clear objective to say that he was not accountable for what were appearing in the micro blogging site written by account holders. (3) Later, another person was appointed as RGO. But, within two days, after he was asked to appear before the authority over a complaint, he resigned. Now, an officer based at Twitter global headquarters in the US appointed in the same position flouting the IT Act mandate which says the RGO be based in India and must be in payroll of company’s India subsidiary.

Agree that the Social Media Twitter and its kinds are valuable platform for democratic discourse for healthy democracy a la Mainstream Media. They have been major part of Fourth Estate in democracies all over the world. But, the misuse of the same is equally dangerous to healthy democracy and its social harmony. Since the advent of social media, there are several instance of misuse of the same by vested interests. To say the least, this misuse is not restrict to India alone if one goes by what happened in the US’s Capitol Building in Washington DC on 06 January 2021. In misuse of Social Media, all kind of people such as the oldest democracy’s President to extremist in Indian jungle to internationally acclaimed child environmentalist to pop star and to porn stars are found engaged. Apart from the above, SM platforms are also found misused by platforms’ owners/managements when one comes across allegations of arbitrary blocking of accounts on flimsy grounds and not allowing increase of followers in some accounts. On 07 July 2021, this author read news on LinkedIN that Professor Anne-Marie Brady, University of Canterbury, an expert on Chinese affairs tweeted some funny aspects of CPC 100th anniversary. As per her, two of those tweets were temporarily marked “unavailable” by Twitter and her account was temporarily restricted over the weekend. Here, the question is raised “What kind of Freedom of Expression that Twitter wishes to protect it is?” Even Twitter dared to the extent of blocking India’s IT and Law Minister’s account though temporarily. In view of this, if there are no right laws and proper enforcement then this big democratic asset that is Social Media will in no time be a big liability. Is it for what Social Media invented or is it for SMs share holders’ profits, comes what way?

Now, let us discuss West’s leading newspaper The New York Times’ recent advertisement for recruitment of South Asia Business Correspondent to be posted in New Delhi. The job posting on its website described among others “Prime Minister Narendra Modi as someone who advocates ‘self-sufficient, muscular nationalism, centered on the country’s Hindu majority’”. The posting goes on to state that “Under Narendra Modi, its charismatic Prime Minister, India has moved to rival China’s economic and political heft in Asia – a drama playing out along their tense border and within national capitals across the region.”

Is NYT looking for journalist or propagandist to satisfy Western media’s vested interest? They should not forget that the US Justice Department in a recently held investigation found Chinese investment in US media houses, detrimental to country’s national interest. Going by the tone of above advertisement for Correspondent post in New Delhi, should we Indians assume that NYT plan of recruitment is for Chinese interest? Why not when NYT thinks Chinese incursion into Indian Territory in May 2020 and resultant skirmish that led to deaths of 20 Indian unarmed soldiers as “drama”?

As per one study done by Mumbai based NGO Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, concerning India more than 540 columns have appeared in Western media during dreaded run of Covid19 pandemic and majority of them have blasted Indian government pandemic management as if India had developed the virus though it was known fact that virus was manufactured in China and spread all over the world with strategic objective followed by exports of defecting PPEs and other equipments apart from campaign “I am Chinese, I am not virus” in some European cities all facilitating rapid spread. And India has worked hard to control the pandemic all over world with supply of medicine to countries including developed where these media houses are housed and where causalities were sky-rocketing in thousands and lakhs more than India in percentage to population. These media houses and their news and views feeders from Indian civil society should not forget that these developed countries inhumanly blocked vaccines up to the extent of three to seven times their requirements when India went ahead supplying vaccines to more than 100 under-developed countries before fully vaccinations of her own people.

Western colonialism has gone, but not their colonial mindset. Post-independence, they tried to impose religious colonialism through large-scale evangelization in truncated India. The advent of Modi government in 2014 has been found by them as major huddle. So it is natural on their part to look for other means. And the other means are fake propaganda through media in the name of Freedom of Expression using India’s so-called liberal-democrats but in fact power mafia and NGOs. 

(Author is Honorary Research Fellow in Defence Research and Studies (DRaS) and Assistant Professor of Management Studies in Trident Group of Institution, Bhubaneswar.

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