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Internet, Hate Speech and Backlash: Here is What Content Creators Have been facing on the Internet

Hate for hate is not a solution. Right? If any content on the Internet appears objectionable, giving it hate and abuse a suitable solution?


Internet and social media every day give us some new debate to work upon. Every day, there is someone saying something about some person. And what’s disappointing in the whole situation is that most of the times are hate that gets spread through over these social media sites, especially on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

We have come to a point where Swara Bhaskar has become a receiving end of all the hate and Kunal Kamra is the known face who is susceptible to facing backlashes, where on Twitter, finding people facing backlashes over there tweets and opinions are seen every day, there are instances where the content creator’s over other platforms have received tremendous hate, rape, and death threats. Where social media comes with the idea of promoting freedom of speech and expression, is it liberalizing the idea of spreading hate?

Social media has today allowed people to speak and talk about every trivial to the non-trivial issue, especially the artists and content creators. Where we consider India being a country with an extremely diverse socio-cultural demographic and political opinions, we can often find content that gets into receiving hate either because of political, cultural, religion-based,  gender-based differences and opinions. What is disappointing is the fact that what gets propagated is abuse not just for the content but for the person making it. Well below are a few examples to elaborate more upon it –

Priyanka Paul, a Mumbai based illustrator, and poet posted a paradox video and posted it on her Instagram story (i.e. 24 hours) and the amount of hate she had received is something no one can stand for. Priyanka is an Ambedkarite – feminist and the Bhramanic community lashed shedding hate. The messages that she had received are neither critical of the content she is posting nor are based on facts. There were sexual slurs, casteist comments, elements of body-shaming, rape threats, and whatnot. And all of it was not just baseless, but a strong question on humanity itself. We would not really elaborate upon what people said to her. You can check for yourself.

Read more: With No Hopes for Public Gathering to Get Back to Normal, How are the Stage Artists Living the Pandemic

Agrima Jousha’s video receiving rape threats for a joke on Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

This case is something that came into widespread notice already. Agrima is a comedian who had performed a set on Shivaji Maharaj’s statue over which a few Maharashtrians presented their disagreement. Considering that, Agrima personally and over the internet apologized for the video.

https://twitter.com/Agrimonious/status/1281617819671474176

Apology

After her apology, Netizen Shubham Mishra posted videos using sexual slurs and giving extreme rape threat to Agrima and thousands of people in Shubham’s comments section supporting it. Where Shubham’s account had been removed from Instagram, several accounts incited hate against Agrima and attacked at The Habitat Mumbai.

https://twitter.com/abhinavkhedkar/status/1281265505442181121

https://twitter.com/Prathamesh_M009/status/1281272435350765568

Vipasha, a Comedian and a Musician who had started posting content online since the lockdown stated that her joke on the ban of Tik Tok went viral and the whole thing took a political angle too considering the tension around the Indo-China border. She was body-shamed. She received sexual slurs and the worst came when other meme and content pages started using her video to engage their audience. The incident was traumatising that Vipasha said, “I was stripped to my dignity by words” to explain it.

Now read this retweet of Kenny Sebastian and the comments on this tweet. He was called a “rice bag convert” – a slur that accuses people of following Christianity, not because of their convictions but due to the purported material benefits.

Now, these are just some examples. The count of such cases is endless, what is commonly observed is that women have become a common target of such comments. Yet, hate of any kind is hate.

Now coming to the fact that India is a country which gives the Right to freedom of speech and expression, According to article 19 1(A) yet at the same time, it puts restrictions through article 19 (2) where defamation or any comment on caste and religion, morality or decency completely comes under contempt of court.

Ayush Srivastava, a Law student explains “that there is a particular way to criticize a particular content if it is coming out as offensive to them. Firstly, they can express simply by writing whatever seems to be offensive to them in a decent way, the concerned person (creator) can consider it and make relevant changes accordingly.The second is reporting about that content in the nearest police station, Police will file an FIR and investigate accordingly. Any content which is against the grounds of Article 19 (2), it is offensive.”

Now, further to what a person can do to seek redressal to any kind of intense hate comments they are getting, Ayush told “then also, a similar process should be followed. One must prefer reporting such issues to the nearest police station there are relevant sections of IPC including Section 500 for defamation, 504 for “Insult intended to provoke breach of peace”; section 505 for false Statement, a rumor with the intent to cause mutiny or disturbance in the public peace, false statement, rumor, etc. with intent to create enmity or hatred between the different class of people and false statement, a rumor made in place of public worship with the intention to disturb the public peace order. Section 509 Indian Penal Code provides that any word or any gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman all are there to deal with such issues.”

Hate for hate is never a solution. The Internet has always been a place for expressing oneself openly under moral conduct. And these content creators have been one who is a source of major infotainment. Such backlashes only act as something that demotivates a creator from making content. It is mentally taxing and humiliating a person for just putting their views out.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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