India might be a democracy but it’s a poor country and its citizens are not emotionally equipped to face rumours spread on the internet, the state-run media said on Thursday, commenting on the exodus of people from the northeastern states from southern parts of the country.
Compared to India, both the government here and the Chinese people are better in handling misinformation on the internet, the state media said.In an editorial, Global Times said the exodus of northeastern people from some cities in India was the result of rumours created by "unchecked websites".
“The scene is familiar to Chinese. What happened in India can help us understand more objectively whether the internet can foment social instability and how it does so,” it said.
“The exodus was a result of public panic that was easily ignited by rumours. It takes more than working with social networking websites to appease agitated public and prevent this from happening again,” it said.
“The unrest in the UK last summer exposed the side effects of these networking sites, prompting the government to ponder blocking internet information flow in times of emergency, a decision that led to an outcry,” it said.
China closely monitors the internet and has banned Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
“Social networking sites were also thought to have played a role in the Arab Spring. A revolution is unlikely to happen in India, which is regarded as the world’s largest democratic country. But the recent disturbance in Assam showed that unrest stirred by rumours is unrelated to a country’s political system. The Indian political system can withstand great uncertainty, but its public sentiment is very fragile when facing an emergency,” it said.
China’s situation is relatively good, it said. “It is hard to imagine rumours causing an exodus. The government's reaction and public’s ability to discern false information are much better.”