Media watchdogs believe that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in power at the federal level since 2014, simply cannot tolerate criticism and wants to control the public narrative.
“The government’s first instinct is to control information,” Pamela Philipose, media commentator and ombudsman for The Wire news outlet, told DW.
“Of course, pandemics lead to misinformation, but a blunt censorship tool such as wide-ranging takedowns is most unhelpful as it suppresses important information,” she added.
“Earlier, what we witnessed was shoot the messenger. Now, the government is shooting the platform too,” Sevanti Ninan, a media critic, told DW.
“Covering the pandemic is a huge challenge for the press and we need to know how it is playing it out on the ground,” said Ninan, who is founding editor of The Hoot, India’s first media watchdog.