Religion rules India, polls and internet are low on priority list

Internet freedom ranks last among six democratic rights taken by Pew Research

GN Bureau | November 19, 2015


#Religion   #Internet freedom   #Pew Research  

India is world’s biggest democracy but voting average in elections is about 50% to 65% because less than half Indians think that elections are important. But over 80% think that religious freedom is important.  Surprisingly for a nation that is swearing by Digital India revolution, support for internet freedom is just 38 per cent, shows a survey by US-based Pew Research.

In fact, internet freedom ranks last among the six broad democratic rights included on the survey.

The report by Pew Research puts India low in the list along with other countries that show marked indifference to political participation but high on vigorous belief in religious activities.

Elections are central component of democracy and across the 38 nations in the study by Pew, a median of 61% think it is very important to have honest, competitive elections with the choice of at least two political parties. However, there are five nations where fewer than half (49%) deem this very important: India, Tanzania, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam, Pew Research said in the report released today.

In contrast, India is among the world's highest supporters for religious freedom. About 86% Indians said that personally religion was important. This high degree of importance being attached to religion explains a sudden spurt in intolerance debate in the country.

Meanwhile, Pew Research report says that India is lagging behind on several measures of free expression including government censorship, competitive elections and internet freedom.

In India, 74 per cent say media organisations should be able to publish information about large political protests in the country. Across the nations polled, a global median of 78 per cent also say this, Pew said.

A global median of 65 per cent say it is very important for women to have the same rights as men and in India, 71 per cent of those polled agree, the report said.

On the issue of equal rights for women, there are sharp differences between men and women in most of the countries in the study. In 24 nations, women are more likely than men to say it is very important for women to have equal rights.

"However, in India, there is no gender difference on this question," Pew said.

Full report: click here

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