Recently a new narrative is shaping up: A section of the left-liberals are highlighting abuse/threats received by them from alleged right-wing social media users and are attempting to paint all online abuse as stemming from the right-wing.
The end-game of this narrative seems to be an attempt to throttle freedom of expression on social media, with senior editors even asking senior ministers to consider “censorship” of mediums such as Twitter. The fear is that this smokescreen of “abuse” could be misused to censor any opposing view.
There is no denying that there are individuals using social media who use abusive language. We had written over a year ago on this same issue, that although abusive attacks and threats are present online, it is incorrect to label all abuse as “right wing” when even prominent handles from the leftist sphere of influence are very abusive by nature.
Last week we kicked off a series where we asked prominent faces about their experiences facing abusive threats and attacks from left-liberal social media trolls. Founder and Editor of Faking News, a popular satire site, wrote last week how his family was targeted by the so-called “liberals”.
Today, writer and newspaper columnist Shefali Vaidya has hit out at this propaganda by revealing how she has been the victim of misogynistic attacks online. In a Facebook post, she has detailed how she and her family have been regularly attacked online. It was in response to the specific incident of Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi trying to brand all abuse as “right wing”.
At the outset, she makes it clear that no woman should be subjected to such abuse and attacks online, irrespective of political leaning and that those guilty must be booked:
A threat of rape and murder is repugnant and NO woman, I repeat, NO woman regardless of her political inclination should be subjected to it. I am sure there are abusive and sick trolls who claim to support the BJP, and they need to be exposed and punished.
But her angst lies in the fact that slowly a narrative is being created that only “right wing” trolls are the ones at fault:
But sexual abuse, threats and slander is NOT an exclusive domain of the ‘right wing’ as our media would like you to believe. I have been subjected to threats, sexual abuses, assaults on my family and slander by frustrated Congress supporters for months now, just because I am a vocal supporter of the BJP
With screenshots of past abusive threats, she makes her point how she was attacked for being a vocal supporter of BJP:
Even an innocuous picture of shaking hands with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was given a sexual twist and circulated with slanderous insinuations:
Shefali Vaidya told us that she had even received messages threatening that her daughter would be murdered and mutilated:
This is the unfortunate reality. Social media is used by some to abuse, threaten and intimidate voices which belong to the other political spectrum. Censoring any medium may not be a solution but certainly legal action and support must be ensured to stop such attacks.
However, any motivated, agenda-driven attempts to classify such attacks as the prerogative of only section must be called out since it will only weaken the cause.