Think before we post?
Most of us don’t think twice before posting our opinions on networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, especially when it comes to social and political happenings around us. So, the arrest of a Mumbai girl Shaheen Dhada over her post on Facebook, questioning the shutdown in the city for Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray’s funeral, came as a shock and surprise for many. Shaheen’s friend Renu was also arrested for ‘liking’ and sharing her comment.
Considering that the social networking websites are a ‘free space’ to share, circulate and discuss issues, rarely do the netizens, especially the youngsters, expect police at their doorsteps for posting a comment on the virtual world. As a large number of users of these websites comprises youths, Metrolife asks college students and young population now will they think before sharing their thoughts on FB and Twitter?
Vishesh Sharma, creative head in a website, equals the case with that of cartoonist Aseem Trivedi who was arrested for his ‘seditious’ cartoons and says, “She should not have made that comment because Bal Thackeray is considered a legend by all in Mumbai irrespective of political beliefs. But at the same time the arrest is both funny and shocking. We have made developments on many fronts but not when comes to taking criticism. In western countries like US, people openly refer to political leaders as jokers and they take it in the right spirit.”
“However, I don’t think that the incident will deter people from making free statements on Facebook and other websites. It is a one off case and I don’t see it happening again. Anyway, here it looks more of a political agenda,” adds Vishesh.
DU student Akshay Munjal seconds him, “An incident like this will spur the debate on the issue than suppress it. Many in retaliation would make even more aggravating stance. At least, I won’t be deterred.”
On the contrary, and after two such incidences (Aseem Trivedi and Shaheen Dhada), many on a precautionary note, will try and remain diplomatic when posting, especially about political parties, government and leaders.
Kamalpreet Kaur, a first-year student of Jagan Institute of Management Studies (JIMS), Rohini, says, “Shaheen Dhada is also normal FB user. I am sure she had not expected that one post would on FB would lead to her and her friend’s arrest. Even I don’t think twice before liking any page or posting something. If not on cyber space like FB, then where else will we opine freely? From now onwards, I will have to be diplomatic while posting any comment because that way anyone can be traced and arrested.”
Another student Geetanjali Dua thinks similarly, “As far as I know that girl had not posted anything offensive. She had only given her opinion on her own page. It is something which we do everyday. But if even that is tracked by political parties and it can lead to vandalism at your place, then obviously we will have to stay alert and thoughtful in what we write on social networking websites.”