Social media has given our society a better way of life and it has aided people in their daily lives. These channels have been established to allow us all (well, anyone with internet access) to share, connect, interact and collaborate. Essentially, social platforms amplify our voices and that is exactly what makes them great.
“Social Media makes the world smaller, and brings our hearts together.” Lori Moreno.
Social media is not the enemy, it is our ally and it has provided us with resources that we never knew before. In a democratic country like Pakistan, one has the right to express his or her personal opinion through social media. The country cannot only rely on the biased thoughts of political personals but also need to consider the views of a mediocre person. In modern societies, the amount of freedom given to media around the world is an indicator of a healthy democracy, where the public can speak its mind and write down ideas without fear of condemnation.
But that is not what is happening? Is it? Freedom of expression is to enable all people, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity, the right to speak their mind and write down ideas without fear of condemnation. The problem is that most people in the world still cannot exercise that right partly because of crippling poverty and lack of education, but also because governments stop them. As of May 2016, the only countries to ban access around the clock to the social networking site are China, Iran, and North Korea (mostly due to lack of internet access).
By having free speech, there will always be a form of hate towards another individual’s beliefs, values and religious viewpoints.The news, Editorial on 15 may 2017 states, “Mashal Khan and another student Abdullah were attacked on campus by a vigilante mob who accused them of blasphemy –Mashal khan was killed” – The message is now loud and clear, if it wasn’t already, be careful what you say online.
This shows that people do take offense to what other people have to say about their beliefs and values but that does not mean that they should take the law in their own hands. That is not to excuse those who do post abusive or discriminatory statements online but it does raise an interesting debate.
We can’t just punish people by violently beating them for holding opinions that we find offensive, no matter how distasteful. This doesn’t mean People can say whatever they want, post whatever they want and no-one can do anything to them. Free speech is not hate speech first of all and If we find any content inappropriate on social media we can report it to social media reps or our local authorities.
Over 60 people accused of blasphemy have been murdered before their respective trials were over, and prominent figures who opposed the blasphemy law have been assassinated. Interestingly in Pakistan The Cyber Crime Bill as passed by the National Assembly does neither cover the heinous crime of spreading and sharing blasphemous material through internet and social media nor take pornographic stuff as an offence. Failure of government again? Might be. Critics suggests that the bill is too harsh, with punishments that do not fit crimes.
If this tendency keeps on increasing, we could very well be seeing situations where people are being censured for expressing their mind online. The social media websites where liberals went to find some breathing room would become tainted as well. By the looks of it all in fact, we may soon inhabit online spaces that are just as restrictive as the ones we occupy physically.