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Chorus To Choke – Censoring The Social Media

Author: Dimple kaul
Publication: Dimplehere.com
Date: May 24, 2016
URL:   http://www.dimplehere.com/social-media-freedom-of-expression-trolling-mainstream-media/

As a pre-teen, I was an effusive fan of The World This Week and no matter how painful, I would stay up late, every Friday, to watch it. Such was my belief in the authenticity of this new and different show! The veneer wore off as I grew up to realise that speaking good English is not the same as good Journalism. And that Cotton clad truth, shouting in the heat and grime of reality, gets subjugated by the din of Pashmina sporting ‘subjective’ newsmakers and broadcasters. More importantly, I could make out that there is no reason to confuse TV or News presenters with Journalists or Intellectuals.

And believe you me, this was not a sudden realisation. It all began with my journey from Mumbai to Roorkee, on the 28th of Feb 2002. I was a student, traveling alone. There was sorrow and palpable grief over the ‘alleged’ (not any more) burning of passengers in a train. The conspiracy was ‘allegedly’ (see I have learnt from the best) hatched by a member of a political party, as we have now found out. What I experienced on the early morning of 28th Feb 2002, was very different from what kept beaming on MSM, for 14 long years, after that unfortunate episode, in which many Indian lives were lost. I could not believe that news reporters chose to present only the response, and ignore the stimulus that triggered it all! But then, in this land of Ramayana, we have evidence (more so now) to show that even if truth gets banished for as long as 14 years, it does vanquish falsehood (and No, stating the obvious or quoting from our past, does not make me a ‘Sanghi troll’).

My tryst with Twitter began in 2009, when I began as a hesitant, passive listener following, among other handles, YOU – the supposed ‘liberals’, ’intellectuals’, ‘historians’ and ‘journalists’, only to be disillusioned and how! Most of the news presenters in ELM trace their lineage (proudly) to that one factory of subjective journalism, which currently has lesser viewers than the followers of few ‘non-blue tick’ Social Media influencers! It was horrifying to note that we might all have actually been watching The Truman Show, instead of News! The very people who we counted on, to use their Freedom of Expression and let us Experience Truth First, turned out to be the ones who were gleefully molesting truth.

You subjected us to subjective news sieved through your filters of self-serving agendas and personal ambition.

•When you could find lumpen elements in people protests at India Gate but no embarrassment in being lumped together with dealmakers in Radiagate.

•When you showed no compunction in turning terrorists into martyrs and victims into conspirators.

•When you kept stoking the fire in Dadri and ostriched your way through the Malda incident.

•When you took to the streets of Delhi, when people’s wrath landed at your door, and showed no solidarity with one of your own mercilessly murdered in Bihar.

•When you turned an unfortunate suicide, by a non-OBC student, into an OBC oppression issue but never apologised when facts came out.

•When both you and your hypocrisy stood up for Kanhaiya Kumar, ignoring Kamlesh Tiwari languishing in jail.

•When you ignored women from the ‘opposite’ camp being lampooned, threatened, mocked and castigated, but held the PM responsible every-time someone dished out something unpalatable to your own.

•When you did not leave a single opportunity to project your country as a ‘third world one’, or one full of ‘intolerant people causing incessant turmoil’, while leaving no stone unturned to create fake Asha for, never to be accomplished Aman with a failed enemy state.

A lot of Indians will agree that you are the most divisive force in the country today. More than any political party or religious head. Your venomous reportage, that goes scavenging for stories with only victims from the minorities, is what instigates polarisation.

•You portrayed a trespasser as a victimised tenant through non-stop coverage.

•You projected an overzealous political volunteer as a brave heart, ruining the career of a young man.

•You even broadcast the ‘employer details’ of a person who you claimed had strangulated your iPhone wielding spoof of a martyr.

 And on being proved wrong what did you do? Just moved on to the next news cycle without a care for the havoc that you wreaked.

Your single-minded focus, on using sporadic incidents of online abuse, to advocate censorship or outright curtailment of freedom of online expression of the ‘unwashed masses’ who have started questioning your narrative, is what has driven me to pent out my ire. This nation has tolerated your shenanigans for far too long. Recently you went to town, publicising an incidence of online abuse. I wish that the one tweet wonder, who has mysteriously vanished from Twitter, after abusing SM’s resident mathematician, gets caught and punished, so that nobody dares to indulge in such activities. But I also wish that you had covered the on-ground, violent attack on Rupa Ganguly, as doggedly. And more importantly, I so wish that you could have risen above your narrow-mindedness and covered the supreme sacrifice of Tanzeel Ahmed, the way it deserved to be covered.

Social Media, especially Twitter, gave us rare insights about you – through frequent glimpses of your IQ, EQ, SQ and pique! We saw you trampling on us through the outright abuse of your Freedom of Expression.

•Your meanness – as your rejoiced in a politician’s swine flu.

•Your disrespect for people’s feelings – while proposing an alternative reading of Ma Durga.

•Your viciousness – in asking a follower to drop dead.

•Your compulsive need to goad others – through loud proclamations of your fetish for ‘meat (with blood dripping) eating’

•Your misplaced sense of entitlement and false supremacy – as you mocked a ‘common citizen’ on his apparent inability to ‘speak Inglis’

•Your tendency to play victim – when your moral compass spun in all directions after stooping to a fist fight

While you extrapolate the online obnoxiousness of some abusive people to label everyone, who questions you, as a ‘vicious troll’, please remember that it is not a one-way street. You may want to consider the not so pretty picture, that your own online behaviour paints! That you are fine with misbehaving with most of your followers, and swatting them away as trolls, says a lot about you and not them. The information inequality of the past that bred the widespread arrogance you reek of, is easily detected in your speech.

You , who keep tossing terms such as misogyny and sexism at the drop of a hat, without actually validating if your allegations fit the bill, are not in the least concerned about online abuse against women. You are just keen on using it, as a foothold, to throttle the Social Media responsible for your world falling apart. You can no longer set the narrative to suit your petty gains.

The substantial majority of well qualified Indians, armed with information and knowledge, are audacious enough to question you. They are daring you to engage in logical debates. They even outsmart you in satire and sarcasm. It is this democratisation, of information gathering and spread, that is anathema to you. That you couldn’t care less for violence against women, is quite apparent by your utter disinterest in questioning the rationale behind rehabilitating a not so juvenile rapist. We have seen how you divide, even online abuse against women, into Left Wing and Right Wing. If women from the so called ‘RW’, are heckled, it is fine with you, but if someone questions women from the ‘LW’, you parasitically cling to that incident, simply to highlight your censorship agenda.

I am not certain if any one of you would have found one particular Congresswoman’s behaviour on Twitter discourteous, as she engaged in a provocative war of words, with the country’s HRD minister. You would surely not have detected misogyny, or anything untoward, in her freedom of crass expression. How many of you condemned Rashid Alvi’s recent appalling behaviour? Hardly anyone, for, he was disgraceful towards someone you detest. But you know what? That is how you give the game away!

It was a such a disappointment to find that you, the people I had put up on a pedestal, had feet of clay. What is heartening, is that we can see you getting sucked into your self-created quagmire of false victimhood, vicious agendas and ulterior motives.Thanks to you, we double check and triple verify any ‘news item’ that you dish out.We find the actual source online.We ensure that we share and spread the correct version and not your concocted one.Freedom of Expression is no longer a luxury – essential for you and an overindulgence for us!

We see you as you are, and not how you would like us to see you. Yes, your naked, self-serving agenda is on display. And when we read these innumerable open letters from your closed minds, we chuckle and rejoice and thank Social Media for being the equaliser that it is! Somewhere in your vainglorious world of ‘class entitlement’, you might be the emperor, but ‘Social Media’ has called you out in your new clothes.
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