India signs joint statement at G-7 for freedom of expression: ‘Internet curbs threat to democracy’
India Sunday signed off on a joint statement by G-7 and guest countries on “open societies” that reaffirm and encourage the values of “freedom of expression, both online and offline, as a freedom that safeguards democracy and helps people live free from fear and oppression”.
The statement also refers to “politically motivated internet shutdowns” as one of the threats to freedom and democracy.
The ‘Open Societies Statement’ was adopted at the end of an outreach session titled ‘Building Back Together—Open Societies and Economies’, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited as a lead speaker.
Participating through video-conference, Modi said that “democracy and freedom were a part of India’s civilisational ethos”. However, he “shared the concern” expressed by several leaders that “open societies are particularly vulnerable to disinformation and cyber-attacks”.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Modi also stressed on the need to ensure that “cyberspace remains an avenue for advancing democratic values and not of subverting it”.
The joint statement was signed by the G-7 countries, and India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa, with host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling them “Democracies 11”.