IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 20th Nov 2020

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.” – Grandma Moses

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #252 :“Informational Autocracy vs Democracy | UPSC

Informational Autocracy vs Democracy | UPSC

M.K. Narayanan

M.K. Narayanan is a former National Security Adviser and a former Governor of West Bengal


A world in chaos and a moment of truth


Informational autocracy is the latest danger that threatens democracies



Autocratic rule in digital world has threatened the democracies and affected a wider section of society.Discuss(GS 2)


  • Evolution of democracies around the globe
  • America’s divide and beyond
  • European issues
  • Terrorism


  • DECISION MAKING : We have been fed on stories on how men in authority take critical decisions after deep and deliberate introspection.

Informational Autocracy vs Democracy


  • RECENT EVENTS : Current events, however, are testimony to the fact that this is no longer true in today’s world.Change is the essence of time.

This is possibly the 21st Century’s ‘moment of truth’.



  • COMPETITION BETWEEN IDEOLOGUES : The existence of acutely sharp divisions between liberals and conservatives, and the concept of endangering democracy in today’s world would hardly be correct.
  • OLDEST DEMOCRACIES : The shenanigans(secret activity) currently taking place in the world’s oldest democracy, and efforts by Donald Trump, to negate the verdict of presidential elections is seen only in dictatorships.

Informational Autocracy vs Democracy | UPSC


  • FAKE NEWS MENACE : The lack of sensibilities on the part of the U.S. authorities , while lecturing the world about the virtues of democracy, represent a new pole in the utilisation of fake news.
  • SUPPORT SYSTEM : Clearly, Trumps support comes from a segment that has serious grievances against policies favoured by so called ‘liberal segments’, and in turn, the neglect of their interests.
  • WAKE UP CALL : This is true of many other democracies as well and must be viewed as a wake-up call.
  • IDENTITY THREATS : What is evident is that issues of identity, or threats to identity, are becoming an important issue in elections across democracies.

Democracies already confront such problems, but it will become still more evident as time passes. 

  • MANIPULATION OF GRIEVANCES : By using psychometric techniques (a la Cambridge Analytica), and the use of ‘deep fakes’ made possible through Artificial Intelligence, further enhances the threat to current notions of democracy.


  • GRAPPLING PANDEMIC : Europe, grappling with a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic, will need for instance, to reckon with the reality .
  • UNDETERMINED DEAL : An uncertain Brexit will further damage the prospects of both the United Kingdom and Europe.
  • RUSSIAN ENIGMA : Russia, under Vladimir Putin, remains an enigma, for despite its military strength and strategic congruence with China, its future appears increasingly uncertain.

France displays even greater fragility than many other European nations. French values, for instance, appear to be undergoing major changes. 

  • DISAPPEARING COHESION : All embracing secularism, with overweening emphasis on social cohesion, seems to be going out of the door in the face of new social and political challenges.


  • GAINING POPULARITY : Terrorism is resurfacing, and with renewed vigour. The al-Qaeda is again becoming prominent.
  • THE IS IN SYRIA : The IS, which many thought had been vanquished following the victories achieved in Syria and Iraq towards the end of 2018, has returned in full force.
  • TRANSNATIONAL CHARACTER  : In recent weeks, it has carried out attacks in France — Paris and Nice — and in Austria (Vienna), a reminder of the transnational character of the threat it poses to democratic countries.
  • NEW TERRORISM : They combine symbolism with spectacular violence.
  • MANIPULATION OF INFORMATION : Events of misinformation to achieve certain desired ends are becoming the stock-in-trade of many a democratic regime as well.
  • CROPPING THE DATA : Many democratic nations today resort to manipulating data to support or prop up the state’s version of events.

Informational autocracy is, hence, the latest danger that threatens democracies.


  • AGITATIONS : Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is witnessing a kind of surface calm, but beneath this there are evident tensions.
  • LARGE SCALE INFILTRATION : Pakistan’s efforts to push in terrorists in ever larger numbers, leading to large scale casualties, specially among the Indian Army and security forces personnel.
  • GUPKAR ALLIANCE : At the political level, in J&K, new equations are being forged for further confrontation, as evidenced by the setting up of the seven party People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.
  • SINO INDIA RELATIONS : The downward spiral in its relations with China has not been arrested.
  • COMMERCIAL EXCLUSION : The RCEP, which covers almost a third of the world’s economy, is perceived as the springboard for future economic recovery across the region.

Among the key signatories (along with China), are Japan and Australia, who are members of the Quad.

      IASbhai Windup: 


  • CHINESE LEADERSHIP : No disruptive leadership changes are likely here in the near future.
  • STRONG IMPETUS : Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to emerge stronger after the 20th Party Congress, in 2022, giving a further impetus to the transformation of China into a superpower by 2035.
  • NEW REFORMS : While new foreign policy initiatives may be few, major reform initiatives will be confined to the economy, the energy sector and new innovation systems.
       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Informational Autocracy vs Democracy | UPSC



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