In the past few days, a vicious campaign has been launched against OpIndia.com. A Twitter handle of an organisation called ‘Stop Funding Hate’ has taken it upon themselves to counter the supposed ‘hate speech’ that was supposedly propagated by OpIndia in one of its articles which spoke about the inherently discriminatory practices in the Halal process. While the Left media collectively celebrated, ebbed and even ‘reported’ the hate campaign by a foreign organisation against an Indian portal, one of the platforms from the Left media, Scroll.in, reached out to us for comments before they cover the campaign.
While we thank Scroll.in for reaching out to OpIndia even as other platforms did not bother asking us for our response, we believe it is in the intrinsic nature of Left media to edit, paraphrase and distort statements provided to them and our readers deserve to know our response in totality. In that spirit, we are reproducing our response below.
The Scroll asked us three questions:
- Has OpIndia heard from advertisers or advertising networks regarding concerns they might have, in connection with this campaign?
- How does OpIndia respond to the allegations of hate speech in the articles that have been highlighted by the campaign?
- Does OpIndia plan to alter anything in response to the concerns that have been raised publicly by several advertisers regarding the site’s pieces?
Following is the response we sent to Scroll reproduced verbatim:
Thank you for having the courtesy of reaching out to us for our comments, a courtesy and journalistic principle that was discarded by several media platforms in their attempt to bring OpIndia down.
Following is my response to your questions and I would appreciate it if they are reproduced verbatim without editing or paraphrasing:
1. OpIndia has not heard from any advertisers or advertising networks expressing any concerns related to the content on OpIndia or expressing their intent to drop OpIndia from their Google ads. Advertisers don’t really need to reach out to us and they can make changes in their advertising dashboard provided by Google. And thus you should ask the advertisers for the details.
2. ‘Hate speech’ has become a tool to browbeat dissenting voices and the bedrock of our democracy, which often favours the most intolerant, would crumble if dissenting voices were silenced. OpIndia fully understands that our free speech ends where the other person’s nose begins, however, we firmly stand by our article and believe that it comes within the reasonable boundaries of freedom of speech, expression and press. The article in question focussed on the concept of Halal and pointed out that Halal in itself was a discriminatory process which disallowed Hindus, specifically Dalits and other backward classes, from finding gainful employment in the Meat industry.
This discrimination is deemed by the State of India and while the Muslim community tries to pass it off as a ‘dietary preference’, it is, in reality, a religious preference that needs only the involvement of Muslims and the recitation of Shahada. The premise of the article was simple – If one form of religious discrimination is legal, the other form of religious discrimination cannot be deemed criminal. If Halal is legal, by the same logic, Hindus refusing the hire Muslims in their business cannot be considered a criminal act that invites FIRs. As I have said, ‘hate speech’ is a tool to ensure that the inconvenient truth is never highlighted and as has been the norm for decades, gets slipped under the rug.
OpIndia, by its very nature of existence, aims to talk about such inconvenient truths and our basic foundation of survival is not going to change just because certain soft Islamists have dainty sensibilities. NN Taleb maintained that in the world, as things stand, the most intolerant win. Intolerance is what the Islamists display. The truth we present is not ‘hate speech’, it’s the mirror that their intolerance aimed to shatter for decades.
3. OpIndia has not, will not, and will never alter its core belief system or content because of the hegemony of the intolerant. We stand by our article and our content 100% and the bullying tactic employed by some unknown faces sitting in the UK and running a Twitter handle is certainly not going to change that. Interestingly, while calling the equivalence between Halal and economic boycott of Muslims, the soft Islamists have launched a campaign where they wish the impose an economic boycott of OpIndia. However, I won’t delve into the irony of the situation since I believe those who believe in brute force would most certainly be blind towards it.
To sum up – We stand by our article. We stand by our content. We are not about to change a thing. We owe our existence, our sustenance and our allegiance to our readers. Not corporates that are riddled with Hinduphobia and have kept their spine safe in a bank locker somewhere.
About the revenues, here is an additional note by our CEO, Mr Rahul Roushan:
Ads are there on the website as extra revenues and they never hurt anyone. However, the bulk of our revenues are in the form of voluntary payments by our readers, who pay us for the content they have already consumed. It’s like an invisible post-service paywall we have in place. We have left the rates on the consumer to decide, based on how much they have consumed and how much they can afford. We’ve seen students in tier II cities paying us as little as 10 rupees to working professionals in big cities paying Rs. 3 lakh. That’s what keeps us going, not ads.
We are happy to inform you that due to this campaign by soft Islamists, we have seen over 700% jump in our daily revenues which comes in the form of voluntary payments, while ad revenues have seen no dip.
But even if ad revenues fall to zero, we are dependent on our readers, whose support we are counting on in the long duration. Hence, such campaigns don’t really bother us. In fact, these people have helped us push up our revenues and we hope they do it every month. Such attacks against us help our readers to cement their resolve to support us even further. We have got many requests from readers to allow them to automatically pay us every month, and we’d soon put that feature in place too.