On 3 March, the Indian government banned a BBC documentary, India's Daughter, which was about the Delhi gang rape case.

The government accused the film of being part of some sort of international conspiracy to harm India's reputation. Advocates for freedom of speech raised an outcry.

To match Special Report NEWSCORP/TAINT
News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch holds a copy of The Sun and The Times Reuters

But then, when Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp announced on 8 March that it was buying up its third digital Indian asset in less than five months, nobody blinked an eye. They should have.

While the banning of the rape documentary seems outwardly more egregious, the latter is a far more sinister affair. Other than being able to raise an army (though time will tell), the world's second-largest media conglomerate has more power than a mere head of state.

Everything we hear and see from media powerhouses is controlled by a small handful of rich people: Murdoch tops that list.

Newscorp and the Indian portfolio

Murdoch, whose holdings in the world's media allegedly touch more than half the global population, is still hungry for more influence, especially in markets where newspaper and news readership is actually growing.

Newscorp has been quietly buying up digital assets to get a further foothold in the Indian market. In recent months, it has bought "content-driven conference business" VCCircle, a digital real estate portal called Prop Tiger and an online tool that helps people make important financial decisions on everything from investments to education, called Big Decision. This adds to its existing Indian portfolio that includes Harper Collins India, alongside globally influential newspaper titles such as the Wall Street Journal Asia.

Celebrity, fashion and consumption of luxury goods will usurp information on all things useful

It may seem pretty innocuous against a backdrop of the Indian media landscape, already controlled by a couple of oligarchs who themselves compete with the likes of Murdoch's empire at least on a national scale. But that doesn't mean India needs a globally controlled version of the status quo.

It won't mean more choice of media and better information. Instead, it will mean an even more right-style, Westernised, narrow view of what Indians – already rich, or perpetually poor – should aspire to. This isn't competition for truthful reporting but instead a competition for which extreme form of the money-hungry, privatised, minority-hating view of the "market" should dominate.

And as Murdoch gains even more influence in the Indian market, before we know it things like rape won't ever have taken place – or at least they won't be reported on. Instead, celebrity, fashion and consumption of luxury goods will usurp information on all things useful. Murdoch and his compatriots don't ban news or documentaries: they simply choose to edit them out for us long before we even get wind of it.

Rupert Murdoch Protest News International London
Demonstrators protest outside the News International offices in east in London February 17, 2012 Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Murdoch world view

Though India is hardly virtuous when it comes to freedom of speech, a few vestiges of hope for a balanced media remain. One broadcaster, NDTV, protested the India's Daughter documentary ban by showing a blank screen where it would have shown the film. And because of systems of accountability, the High Court in India is soon expected to rule on whether or not the ban on the documentary is to be overturned.

In a completely privatised, Murdoch-led world, there is nowhere to turn, except to the mind-numbing box in front of you – the computer, the television – that will lull you into a sense of aspirational sleep where all you worry about is how much money you have, the rise and fall of the stock market, how big your house is, how thin you look or how much sex you're getting.

Nobody will report any information on real issues that impact the Indian population like rape or poverty or climate change and even if they do, it will be one that will make you more paranoid about your own future, and less likely to want to help your fellow human in the face of it.

The Murdoch-istan media empire is gaining ground in this vast sub-continent right under our noses. Those who care for freedom of speech and want to ensure real issues are given a voice here should think beyond the current documentary ban to the wider media landscape that, on the current trajectory, will only make matters worse.