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No resignations over Lalit Modi, Vyapam scam: Government

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government on Wednesday reasserted that union minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers will not resign over the Lalit Modi controversy and Vyapam scam and termed opposition allegations on the issues as “baseless”. New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addresses during a press conference regarding `International Day of Yoga` in New Delhi, on June 9, 2015. ​(Photo: Amlan Paliwal/IANS)

“We have decided to give a befitting reply to the misinformation campaign on these issues and BJP parliamentarians have been asked to strongly counter the opposition,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters after a meeting of the BJP parliamentary party.

Naqvi said the opposition was attacking the NDA government “out of desperation as it had no issues to raise against the Centre”.

The opposition, particularly the Congress, was not interested in holding discussions (in parliament) and only wanted to disrupt the proceedings of both the Houses of parliament, Naqvi said.

Pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke at the meeting, Naqvi said, “The prime minister told the BJP parliamentarians that they should be proud of his government’s work for the betterment of the poor. He also asked the parliamentarians to take all government initiatives for the country’s development to the people.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Sushma Swaraj gave her views at the parliamentary party meeting and satisfied all party parliamentarians through her logic.

“We want the whole country to hear her logic (in parliament),” Jaitley told media persons.

Taking a dig at the Congress, Jaitley said, “Yesterday (Tuesday), the opposition was ready to discuss the matter but today they have started demanding an inquiry. Inquiry is done only when some legal provisions are violated as was done in the 2G spectrum case.”

He said the opposition was lacking in facts and that’s the reason it was shying away from a parliamentary discussion.

BJP president Amit Shah also addressed the meeting and appealed to the party’s members of parliament to educate the people about the work done by the government in the last one year, sources said.

(IANS)

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Governments Around The World are Learning to Confuse Dissidents on Social Media

The researchers, who published their findings in a recent issue of Political Science Research and Methods, specifically examined social media from both the Venezuela regime and its opposition

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Social Media
The regime also seemed to develop a more sophisticated approach to using hashtags on Social Media. The regime used long hashtags, as opposed to the shorter hashtags that are more commonly used, to promote distraction among the protest groups. Pixabay

Governments the world over are learning new tactics to quash dissent on various Social Media platforms, responding with tweets designed to distract and confuse like longer hashtags, according to a team of political scientists.

In a study of Twitter interactions during Venezuela’s 2014 protests, in which citizens voiced opposition to government leaders and called for improvements to their standard of living, the tweets of the protesters focused mainly on the protest itself, while the tweets issued by the ruling regime covered more diverse topics.

This could mean that regimes are growing more savvy in their use of social media to help suppress mass movements.

“When we started doing this study there had been a lot of optimism about the capacity of social media to produce revolutions throughout the world, like Arab Spring and the Color Revolutions in Europe,” said Kevin Munger, assistant professor of political science and social data analytics, Penn State.

“But it seems like, in hindsight, this was the result of short-term disequilibrium between the capacity of the masses to use this technology and the limited capacity of these elites to use it.”

A lot of these elites may have not been keeping up with modern communication technology and got caught unawares.

So, for that short period of time, social media did produce better outcomes for revolutions and mass movements.

The researchers, who published their findings in a recent issue of Political Science Research and Methods, specifically examined social media from both the Venezuela regime and its opposition.

Social Media
Governments the world over are learning new tactics to quash dissent on various Social Media platforms, responding with tweets designed to distract and confuse like longer hashtags, according to a team of political scientists. Pixabay

Following the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in early 2013, Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s vice-president, won a special election.

After his election, mass protests erupted related to economic decline and increased crime.

In their analysis, the researchers noted that the regime abruptly shifted its Twitter strategy after protests swept across the country.

The topics of the regime’s tweets became even more diverse than usual — including such topics as a tree-planting event — and often did not address the protests at all.

As the protests continued, however, the researchers said that the opposition also became less focused, which the researchers suggest may have been a reaction to the regime’s social media strategy.

The way that attention works on social networks offers a glimpse into why the strategy to distract citizens might be effective, added Munger, who worked on the study while a doctoral student in politics at New York University.

Social Media
Regimes are growing more savvy in their use of Social Media to help suppress mass movements. Pixabay

“To have effective protests, you need to have a ton of people coordinated on a single message, so spreading other narratives disrupts that process of coordination,” said Munger.

“Being able to spread doubt is effective. You don’t have to get people to love your regime, you just need people to less convinced of the single narrative.”

ALSO READ: President of Egypt Calls for Collective Action Against Countries Supporting Terrorism

The regime also seemed to develop a more sophisticated approach to using hashtags. The regime used long hashtags, as opposed to the shorter hashtags that are more commonly used, to promote distraction among the protest groups. (IANS)