Dealing with hate speech online – An example

(Last Updated On: May 25, 2010)

Hate speech is, outside the law, any communication which disparages a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race or sexual orientation. In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.

I’m no different from you, I believe in freedom of expression and freedom of speech. But the world is diverse and imagining everyone to be appropriately behaved, is unfortunately, wrong. I would love to believe otherwise, but no, at least that’s what I learned from a recent example.

Here’s the story.  A blog claiming to be written by an Emirati (I don’t want to cite the name or the content from the blog) posted some content last day which was inhuman and barbaric to say the least. It was a post regarding the recent Air India Express crash in Mangalore. And this heartless person posted pics and an article that was insulting the victims, and very inclined to the racist nature.  I don’t want to go into the details as it doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned. Clearly the person was either a crack or an immature human being who missed some serious education.

The blog was on and as many people were hurt by the article, joined the efforts we put forward to report it for hate speech on Google. We tweeted, posted on facebook, sent emails to groups and in 48 hours the blog was pulled off Google. So much for the power of social media.

I want to thank everyone who joined this effort, and put their best foot forward in combating this issue. I’m sure there would be more cases like this and most of the times ignoring is the best way to fight them, but a few like this doesn’t deserve the attention at all. Its unfair.