Singer Chinmayi moots regulatory body for social media

Playback singer Chinmayi, who was harassed on social networking site Twitter, says she is in favour of a regulatory body but feels the right to freedom of expression should not be curtailed as long as criticism does not turn vulgar.

"I definitely believe that it would make things easy if the general public could get help when they need and if action is taken on some people. I am sure it might serve as a warning. May be a regulatory body might also help," Chinmayi, who has sung in several
Tamil and Malayalam films, said.

But the singer, an active user of Facebook, Twitter and her own blog for several years, is also conscious of the need to protect freedom of expression in a democracy.

"I am not sure yet. It is a democratic country and as long as nothing happens to infringe on a fundamental right, it would be help. Whether the help is for women or men," she told PTI days after cyber crime police arrested two persons for allegedly harassing her on Twitter.

Saravana Kumar Perumal, a faculty at the National Institute of Fashion Technology or NIFT, and an employee of Tiruppur Collectorate were arrested, based on the probe into Chinmayi's complaint. They posted vulgar comments on Twitter about her and her mother since January last year.

"The right to freedom of speech and expression cannot and should not be curtailed in this country. There is also right to dissent and criticism. But it has to be done in a manner that criticizes a certain act. Abuse, derogatory comments and vulgarity should be avoided. If this method is used as a ploy in a bid to harass, then it is quite serious," she said.

Explaining the reason behind her decision to seek police intervention, she said it was easy to tell a victim of harassment on a social networking portal "to be strong" but the fact remains that most of us go into battle alone."

"The affected person knows and goes through the trauma... Even during this incident, it was not easy (for me) to go through abuse for an entire two years. I felt why am I, of all people being targeted by people who do not know me? who have nothing to do with me nor do I have anything to with them?..," she said.

Chinmayi said even a fake account was created using her name by one of the accused.

"Six people sent me a mail immediately (about this issue). Others worked quick enough to report the fake account for Spam. By the time I had finished recording a song that day the account was gone", Chinmayi said.

She thanked her fans and well wishers for intimating her about the fake accounts. "I guess this is the time I am grateful to the music and the fans," she said.

Stating that these kind of incidents cannot be prevented from happening, she said, "may be, just may be, it will make people think twice before typing out something in the social media".

"Even during this incident, those claiming to be friends of the people I named (in the police complaint) have come across to say vile things to me. Some threats also happen. There was an abusive comment on my blog," she said.

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