India asks social networks to censor content that refers to the “Indian variant”

Narendra Modi’s government believes that the term “Indian variant” does not exist because they have not scientifically proved that the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus originates from India.

According to Reuters, on May 21, 2021, the Indian Ministry of Technology and Information wrote to all social networks asking them to hide all content referring to the “Indian variant”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to get out of the eye of the media storm. One more request from the government, just weeks after asking social networks to withdraw messages criticizing the management of the pandemic.

Remove the “Indian variant” from social networks

According to the WHO (the World Health Organization) the B.1.617 variant of the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus was identified for the first time in India during the year 2020. This variant is now hui classified as a variant of global concern. After this WHO statement, the Indian government declared that the term “Indian variant” did not exist because it was unfounded. The Ministry of Technology and Information even asked social networks to “remove all content that talks about the Indian variant.

In the letter from the ministry, we can read this: “It is completely false. There is no scientific proof of the existence of this Indian variant of Covid-19, presented by the World Health Organization. L ‘WHO has not associated this term with the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 in any of its reports. According to a source close to the ministry, they sent this letter to send a strong message to the world. India does not want this ,”Indian variant” to damage the image of its territory. Scientists based on where they are identified designated variants. This is the case for India.

Indian government is not doing it

According to an anonymous source, it would be next to impossible to remove all content using the term “Indian variant”, as there would be hundreds of thousands. Such a measure would also lead to the application of censorship based on keywords, which are against the rules of social networks.

Over the weeks, discontent rises in India. The Indian government is increasingly criticized for its handling of the pandemic. They accuse prime Minister Modi of not having sufficiently expected the second wave which hits the country head-on with over 4,000 deaths every day.

In several large Indian cities, the situation is critical. In New Delhi, for example, several hospitals are refusing patients because they do not have enough oxygen and beds. India is not at its first attempt in censorship. The country threatened a few months ago to jail Twitter employees if they did not apply the censorship demanded to deal with the farmers’ revolt.



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