This week on CounterSpin: A May 25 New York Times story reports that India’s leading Bharatiya Janata Party is pressuring Twitter to censor and sanction anyone posting critically about prime minister Narendra Modi. An after-dusk visit by “officers from India’s elite antiterrorism police unit” to Twitter‘s New Delhi offices wasn’t so much legally binding as symbolic, the Times explained, sending a “a clear message that India’s powerful ruling party is becoming increasingly upset with Twitter because of the perception that the company has sided with critics of the government.”
In that effort to cow those calling attention to its failings, the Times said, Modi’s government is “following the path of some other countries trying to control how and where messages can spread on social media.” For first example, “the Russian government said it would slow access to Twitter, one of the few places where Russians openly criticize the government.” Lest you miss it, the subtext of this kind of storytelling is that it is a mark of an undemocratic society that you can’t access all kinds of perspectives—not just on your own country, but on any country—and freely, make up your own mind.
It’s a misleading premise, and though India is just one example, it’s a powerful one: The country is the new epicenter of the Covid pandemic, a major vaccine exporter than can’t vaccinate its own people, a potential example of how and why austerity and disaster capitalist programs fail—yet US corporate media don’t seem to see a story worth telling, beyond how Modi might hold on to power despite some unfortunate “missteps.”
We’ll talk around corporate media about current events in India with historian, author and journalist Vijay Prashad, executive director at the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and author of, among other titles, The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South.
Plus Janine Jackson takes a quick look at press coverage of Pride and police.
This content originally appeared on FAIR and was authored by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.