There is increasing evidence that networks in India use social media platforms to manipulate public discourse, harass and intimidate independent voices. Use of social media and sophisticated technology is creating a partisan information environment that favours the ruling party, the far-right Hindu nationalist BJP.
In fact, India’s long-standing home minister and architect of the BJP’s election campaign Amit Shah proudly stated about the BJP’s IT cell: “We are capable of delivering any message we want to the public, whether sweet or sour, true or fake.”
In light of growing concerns in the EU about foreign interference and disinformation that may destabilise European democracy, this briefing shares new research on India’s information manipulation ecosystem, including its aims, methods and enablers. As the EU is seeking ever closer engagement with India on information and communication technology, cybersecurity, and personal data flows, the briefing warns that the capacity of actor networks in India to access, use and manipulate information of private citizens for political purposes cannot be underestimated.
Moderator: MEP Markéta Gregorová (Greens/EFA) is a Czech politician from the Czech Pirate Party.
Archis Chowdhury, senior correspondent, BOOM Factcheck
Saikat Chatterjee, chief data analyst, The London Story
Sophie Zhang, data scientist and whistle-blower
Vignesh Rajahmani, doctoral researcher, King’s College London
Vihang Jumle, independent researcher and public policy student, Hertie School, Berlin
Organiser: Stichting The London Story is a diaspora-led think tank with a team across Europe that documents and archives hate speech and disinformation in India.
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