Let’s Be Clear, Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech

Posted by Avirup Chatterjee in #NoPlace4Hate
July 25, 2017

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Facebook logoEditor’s Note: With #NoPlace4Hate, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook have joined hands to help make the Internet a safer space for all. Watch this space for powerful stories of how young people are mobilising support and speaking out against online bullying.

Social media, two words which have become a part of our lives for the last 10 years. It’s a platform where we can share our personal lives, interests and other stuff. However much we may make fun of it we have to admit that it has become a place where we get important news and get to know more about the world.

But the world has changed and not all of it is for the better. Day by day, we’re becoming more aggressive and forgetting things like morals or decency.

Sitting behind a smartphone or computer, we are starting to think that we can say or do whatever we want and it won’t have consequences. This irresponsible behaviour needs to stop. While I am all for free speech but somewhere along the line free speech has started to mean hate speech for some people.

Recently, there was a very tragic terrorist attack in Manchester that killed 22 people and injured over 116. In these times some people had the gall to make jokes about it.

Also there was a case of Indian actor and MP Paresh Rawal and Singer Abhijeet making really controversial and hateful tweets. The sad part is people are supporting them in the name of free speech.

Even I was given death threats when I once said on Facebook that I didn’t think Bahubali was that big a deal. I told a female friend about these threats and do you know what she told me? She said at least you weren’t given a rape threat. The answer surprised me, I can’t imagine how the internet treats a woman who has a opinion if something like this was normal for her.

This is not free speech, this is hate speech. Civilised human beings should never act like this. Is this what thousands of years of evolution have brought us to? Threaten, abuse and degrade anyone who disagrees with you.

The social media is a powerful tool but we must learn to use it properly. Taking a quote from Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” I stand by Facebook, Twitter and other sites which ban such individuals because we don’t need such people on the internet. The Internet is a basic right and it’s up to us to not abuse it.

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