Facts As Per The Aligarh Police Twitter Account
(From Aligarh Police official Twitter handle as of June 7, 2019, 1.34pm)
The case has taken the nation and social media by storm. Twitter has been exploding and Twinkle has been trending for the past few days. There has been a slew of reactions from citizens, verified personalities and celebrities alike. What disturbs me the most besides the crime itself, is the amount of misrepresentation taking place in the media about this little girl. It disrespects Twinkle Sharma in every way.
Accessibility has increased in India and has allowed the media to grow over the past few years. As a result, citizens not just consume it, but also are able to express opinions. In this way, the effect that even a single story has on society has the potential to impact the way humans see the world. This brings out the negative aspect of accessibility to media- misrepresentation. And under misrepresentation can also come exclusion, fake news, racism and discrimination.
As a journalist, I am very concerned about where the media is headed in India. Because of how ideas are currently shared through media, unrealistic standards of living and ‘the ideal’ exist for every identity, sex, and label for a human being: and this carries real-world consequences. Suicide, violence, hate crimes. Misrepresentation in Twinkle Sharma’s case has actually detracted us away from the horrific crime itself.
The amount of fake news, in this case, has instead put the main focus on the strengthening of racism among identity groups. And it leads to violence in the way humans interact and speak to one another; it changes the way we think about each other. This can be seen clearly on social media. Instead of focusing on the poor girl’s death or her family, we are simply using her as a case study to focus on all the wrong things; hate for the killers, publishing our own opinion to the world to gain followers and trying to gain likes, retweets and shares out of a tragedy.
Instead, let’s use the media to break down stereotypes. Let’s use it to remember Twinkle Sharma. Let’s use the accessibility to drive positive development and implement regulation frameworks in society so that no child or parent has to live in fear.
The media is one of the most powerful tools we have and freedom of speech is the other. Both can change mindsets. So instead, let’s use media, social media platforms, and our freedom of expression to come together as a nation and find a collective solution to bring justice to Twinkle Sharma.
I would have really preferred to see this from influencers on social media. Of course, one should express their sorrow at Twinkle’s horrific death as they did. But what next? Isn’t sparking action among citizens a much better way to remember Twinkle? Isn’t bettering society more beneficial than simply screaming hate and outrage? Let’s use the tools we have positively to build a stronger and safer society. So that a case like Twinkle Sharma does not happen again.