Instant judgment is no justice! It makes one the hero, other the shadow of an evil.
Recently, film-maker Anurag Kashyap posted a picture of a bruised eye with a caption that read “this is what happens when you have a brawl with a mixed martial arts fighter”. The photo went viral in no time and so did the news about the film-maker’s injury. It was a costume experiment by Kashyap to point fingers at the media. To tell them how media often publishes news items without cross-checking. Point, Mr Kashyap! But did anyone tell you that you are last point of cross-checking that anyone would have to do to an issue related to you. And when you are yourself publishing a picture why would the need to cross-check occur?
Nevertheless, there is a point that Kashyap is trying to make. And that is how news on social media spreads like a wild fire with no control whatsoever. With all the benefits that social media offers there is this thin line of veracity that we often forget in the race to be the first to break the news. Consider this: a girl posts a picture of a man as her harasser and it gets retweeted on Twitter and shared on FB million times. What if it was pure vendetta? Or a gimmick? Anyone with a smartphone and a social media account considers himself or herself as no less than a sleuth. And in our desire to pass immediate judgement, we fall into the trap of rhetoric, and lose the plot.
Every story has two sides. Whether the Mumbai man masturbated at a foreign national or he was just peeing, we still haven’t concluded. Whether Jasleen Kaur was actually harassed by the biker or it was just a publicity stunt, we still don’t know.
The ‘Rohtak sisters’ story is a case in point. It involved a video that went viral on the social media last year. The first video showed two sisters (referred to as the Rohtak sisters) beating three young men with a belt. Soon, the video was being broadcast by television channels. The girls were praised by the media and given the nickname “bravehearts” and even being conferred award by the State. After a second video emerged within a few days, which showed them kicking another boy, divided opinions emerged. Now the case is in Court related to the veracity of the content.
In all the above cases, before anything is proved, we have already made somebody the crusader of humanity and other the shadow of evil. Yes, instant judgments on Facebook or Twitter do raise questions about our law system which has seemingly failed in ensuring quick justice to women.
The fact that social media does allow instant reaction, it is now up to our lawmakers to engage this media creatively and tap its potential in dealing with crime. Also, time we paid attention to some relevant social media policy that held people accountable for their actions. Anything that you share on social media is ought to be an endorsement. Time we paused and gave it a hard thought before hitting the share button or RT. Are you ready to face the repercussion if it is a false, maligned news?
And seriously, when you write in your Twitter bio that ‘RTs are not endorsements’, what exactly do you mean? If you aren’t endorsing the news why bother to spread it either? If you are unsure, then, just sleep over it.