There are certain stories that you always can just objectively look in to, and give your opinion on it, however, it is not until you actually experience it for yourself that you understand exactly how it feels to be going through that certain thing.
Something similar to this occurred to me when I read the Huffington Post article that commented on how quiet the journalistic world had gotten due to fear and pressure from political and other authorities that have recently been stifling the voices of anyone that disagrees with them.
And truly, even as a young blogger, I myself have to deal with these fears every day that I pick up even a slightly controversial topic and make sure that it is not too attacking in nature and be politically correct at all times.
Facebook And Other Social Media Censorship
Over the past few months, we have come across several instances when people’s Facebook and so accounts were blocked due to them posting something even slightly critical of the current government.
Mohammad Anas a journalist, had his Facebook account blocked on September 26th, due to his sharing a photo, of a cash receipt which had the words printed ‘’Kamal ka phool hamari bhool’. The user merely pointed out this fact and opined on how this could mean that maybe the businessmen were printing this on their receipts because they want to let it be known that voting for the current government was a mistake. His Facebook post read:
“Kamal ka phool hamari bhool. Vyapari apne cash memo par print karva kar janta se bata rahe hain ki BJP ko vote dekar galti ho gayi”.
Facebook subsequently blocked his account for a standard 30 days which in turn brought about anger from others users on social media who were confused as to why exactly that action had been taken.
Even earlier to that, as per a report by CNN till June of this year, about 20 digital shutdowns had happened, which was more than 2016 and definitely more than 2012, which had only 3 such shutdowns.
The government was unresponsive to answering exactly why these shutdowns happened, although they have alleged that the reason is to prevent social media rumours that could induce violence.
The volatile and turbulent state of Kashmir has, in the last 5 years witnessed 33 such digital shutdowns.
The inability of the government to properly explain why these shutdowns happened makes it even more suspicious.
How This Affects The Blogging Community
As a blogger with a youth blog, not only I but even on a general basis there is a constant level of fear of doing any outright controversial or attacking articles, especially if they are against the current government and the politically powerful people in it.
Mostly most of us are told to make sure that we do politically correct stories, sometimes even forced to write stories that are pro-government even if as a blogger I might not feel like it, just so that the blog does not seem anti-government.
My fellow blogger Prateek has also had to apply self-imposed censorship wherein he has had to be very careful in how he deals with a certain topic just so that it won’t even slightly offend anyone.
When asked aso to how he felt about this kind of censorship, he said that:
It’s one thing to be politically correct and another to be open to being harassed for holding an opinion. As long as you’re using decent words, statements using innuendos to avoid being explicit and raising logical contentions, there shouldn’t be a problem. When I’m asked to not express an opinion or write on a particular topic, I’m neither shook nor disheartened. I try to understand what would have I done if I were in that position and then it all makes sense.
He has to be careful while bashing the one who should not be named and his allies obviously. But it’s okay because at the end of the day we all want to be at least alive.
It seems that situation has reached such a level that you just cannot outright take names or blame someone, even allegedly, and have to imply censorship on yourself in order to avoid any problems or harassment.
As a blogger currently, we just cannot have a good political discussion with opposing views without fearing getting threats of death, rape, stoning and vandalism. Although all are assumed threats, one in the name of self-preservation how wise would it be to push the envelope so much that something bad eventually happens.
And then only the new media and bloggers like will have to suffer the consequences.
Image Credits: Google Images