New Delhi: A recent survey report suggests that nearly two out of three people in Gujarat are reluctant to express their political and social opinion online. This fear, the survey report prepared by NGO Common Cause and Lokniti, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) suggests, is out of fear of legal action.
According to a news report published in The New Indian Express, the NGO’s report titled ‘Status of Policing in India Report 2023’, looked at the behaviour of internet users in Gujarat. The study, TNIE article says, shows that 33% of those surveyed were extremely scared about inciting legal action by expressing their political opinions online.
As per the study, while most respondents backed the government’s surveillance of mobile phones to curb political protests, many expressed concerns about their own capacity to openly express their social or political beliefs online for fear of legal repercussions.
In an interview to TNIE, Mahashweta Jani, the Gujarat coordinator of ‘Lokniti’ said: “When a single party has ruled for a long time in a state, the overall fear of surveillance within the public is very natural, due to autocracy in Gujarat, people are afraid to express their political opinion.”
The study has found that Gandhinagar has the highest number of CCTV cameras in India.
As a part of the survey, participants were asked if they are afraid of legal action if their social media posts on a political or social topic offend certain groups. Most respondents said yes. In Gujarat, 33% of people stated they are very scared of legal punishment for sharing political or social opinions online. Other 46% said they are “somewhat scared”. Around 9 % stated they are less scared; while only 8% said they are not scared at all.
This article was first Published by TheWire