Majority Indians Afraid of Posting Political Views Online

The political atmosphere in India has remained edgy in the last few years. Numerous people have been arrested in the past for posting comments critical of the ruling government. News reports of arrests for insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi have popped up with an alarming regularity.

The arrests include students, teachers, businessmen, auto-rickshaw drivers, activists and members of police and paramilitary forces. Living in such environment has made many livid, outraging over lack of freedom of expression, especially in terms of political views.

As many as 55 per cent of surveyed English internet users stated that they are scared of expressing political opinions online, according to a survey by Reuters released Monday. They said that they are concerned that open political expression on social media could land them into trouble with the authorities.

Out of English-speakers in India, 41 per cent respondents who claimed to support the BJP said that they trust “most news most of the time”. Thirty-six per cent of UPA supporters (including former UPA) and 26 per cent of non-partisans trust news most of the time, according to India Digital News Report, published by Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The report is “based on data from a survey of English-speaking, online news users in India”.

The issues of fake news, misinformation and online political manipulation are of grave concern in both India and the US, Americans and English-speaking Indians vastly differ on who should be held responsible.

Roughly 57 per cent of English-speaking Indians are concerned with deciphering what is real and what is fake on the internet. Additionally, 64 per cent Indians believed that the government should solve the misinformation problem. Approximately, 70 per cent Indians placed the onus on publishers and platforms.

Close to 45 per cent of respondents said they are concerned, “when facts are spun or twisted to push a particular agenda,” and with “poor journalism.”

A report in Indian Express stated that at least seven state government school teachers have been suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government for questioning Pulwama terror attack to praising Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and criticising the effectiveness of Balakot airstrike by India. Lately, India is increasingly jailing its young citizens for posting content online that “offends” politicians.

In 2017 and 2018, at least 50 people were arrested across India for social media posts, according to a report by Mint.

INA-NY CALLS FOR ESSAY SUBMISSIONS FROM INDIAN NURSES

Indian Nurses Association of New York (INA-NY) which represents and serves as a professional body of nurses and nursing students of Indian origin and heritage in New York state, calls upon all nurses of Indian origin to submit essays for its annual essay contest on the theme, “Nurses:  A Voice to Lead – Health for All”.

            Essay must be limited to two pages, typed in double space using font size 12 and must not contain any personal identifiers.  The contestant must attach a cover page with full name, credentials, address, phone number and email address.  The essay with the cover page is to be emailed  to Dr. Solymole Kuruvilla, chair of the awards and scholarships committee at kuruvil3@aol.com by May 12, 2019. The first and second prize winners will be awarded at the INA-NY Nurses’ Day celebrations at the Cotillion Restaurant in Jericho, NY on May 18, 2019.

Paul D Panakal

7831 266 Street

Floral Park, NY 11004

347 330 0783

516 732 2520

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