M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 147

Media Manipulation in the Indian Context: An Analysis of Kashmir-Related Discourse on Twitter

Sanjana Rajgarhia



Access to high-quality information and an ability for citizens to come together to discuss and deliberate are integral elements of a democratic society.
In the Indian context, access to news has improved dramatically in the recent past (thanks to the rapid growth in internet services). However, there is widespread concern around the quality of online news.
One potential driver behind the deterioration of online news quality and political discourse is media manipulation. According to Data & Society, media manipulation is the “effort to exploit technical, social, economic, and institutional configurations of media to catalyze social change, sow dissent, and challenge the stability of social institutions.” Manipulators are motivated by a desire to do one or more of the following: spread ideologies, make money, gain status and attention. They deploy a variety of tactics—doctored photos, forged documents, viral slogans, etc.—to achieve their objectives. Manipulation takes place on a variety of participatory spaces online, including mainstream social media sites.
This study analyzes media manipulation in India and its impact on online news and political discourse.

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