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India and the Internet: Both destinations unsafe for women | FOMO ep 7

A recent report by Thomson Reuters Foundation claimed that India is the most unsafe country for women in the world. Nothing surprising there, really. And if you think about it, social media isn't any better either. Be it a politician, actress, businesswoman or any professional, if you are a woman, you are an 'easy target'. TRANSCRIPT Welcome to FOMO, short for fear of missing out, I am your internet scout Nano, and today’s episode is probably not what you are expecting. I was recently reading the report from the Thomson Reuters Foundation, according to which India is the most unsafe country for women. And to be honest, I was not surprised at all. For that matter, I can say that’s quite true for the internet as well. To prove that to you, I don’t even have to go too far. I am going to talk to my colleagues at Firstpost, about how their experience has been with social media. But we are just journalists. Things aren’t any different, for a hard working, and an outstanding external affairs minister of our country, either. After being trolled on twitter for more than a week, Sushma Swaraj finally spoke up against the nuisance. The minister wrote in a tweet: “In a democracy, difference of opinion is but natural. Pls do criticise but not in foul language. Criticism in decent language is always more effective.” This all took a dirty turn, when a Twitter user named Mukesh Gupta, who according to his profile is a graduate from IIT Delhi. He tweeted to Sushma Swaraj’s husband saying that he should “beat up Sushma Swaraj” and “teach her not to do appeasement”. There were other tweets with direct threats of violence to the Minister, communal slurs and memes mocking her with derogatory pictures and language. The whole situation looked worse when Sushma Swaraj ran a poll on Twitter asking how many people think it is ok to troll and abuse somebody. She wrote, “Friends : I have liked some tweets. This is happening for the last few days. Do you approve of such tweets ? Please RT” More than 1,20,000 people took this poll, and a freaking 43 percent people voted that they approve of such a behaviour. Senior Journalist Sanjay Pugalia rightly tweeted, “How to interpret this result ? A majority of 57% are with @SushmaSwaraj but 43% support sickening abuses on SM....!” To be honest, if this is how a minister of this state is treated, what hope is there for any other woman? You can randomly pick a woman from the crowd, and I bet she can tell you at least one harassment story, right off the top of her head. In May 2018, when journalist Rana Ayyub was receiving death threats after an online hate campaign, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner had to call on Indian authorities to protect her. Just take the example of Anushka Sharama who was recently trolled, for pulling up a man off the streets for throwing plastic on the road. Social media now calls her the Garbage lady. You tell us, do you really think it is okay to abuse women on internet? For that matter, is it ok to abuse absolutely, anybody? How do you think we should deal with people who troll and harass others online? This is not just one episode but we will continue to bring up this issue, because frankly till NOBODY is trolled, this will be our crusade. This is a wrap, don’t forget to watch the latest episode of Tech2 Talks, where our Ed Ankit Vengurlekar speaks to experts on how much our government cares about data privacy. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and press on the bell icon to be notified for our latest content. Follow us on Twitter @tech2eets - https://twitter.com/tech2eets and on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/tech2dotcom