Stamp out this hate speech manufacturing network

Source: The post is based on the article “Stamp out this hate speech manufacturing network” published in The Hindu on 16th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges.

Relevance: To understand the political nexus between hate speech and Political Parties.

News: The recent attack on a judge of the Supreme Court of India by the IT cell of a prominent national political party has given the impression that there are a significant number of people opposed to judicial criticism.

Read more: Hate speech is violent in itself and must be called out 
What are Internet Trolls, and what is the political nexus of these trolls and hate speech?

According to the book “I am a Troll”,  Internet trolls are defined as persons who sow discord through inflammatory comments on the Internet. The book traces the growth of Internet trolls from the early 2000s and attributes its steep upward curve to the support it received from a senior political leader in Government.

The book also mentions that ‘office bearers of the party in power have publicly supported these trolls’. Thus, the hate speech tweets are manufactured by a factory of a political party that produces millions of hate speeches.

Targeting processes against persons/organisations were managed by ‘Tek Fog’ (a ‘sophisticated app used by online operatives to hijack major social media and encrypted messaging platforms’).

For instance,

-The Wire reported that a network of 757 Twitter accounts was used to mount attacks against the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News and the recovery email id for the anonymous Twitter handle was that of a youth leader of a political party.

-The Wire commented that the handlers of ‘Tek Fog’ are politically aligned.

-Over eight lakh hostile replies were sent out to tweets by women journalists, of which over five lakh were classified as ‘offensive’.

– Newslaundry has reported that internet trolls are ‘well-oiled propaganda machine that will churn out fake videos and mass tweet links to gear up for Twitter storms’.

Read more: Preventing harm: On judicial intervention against hate speech
How to reduce hate speech over the internet?

The government should frame a criminal investigation by an independent special investigation team of the police. This must be followed by Prosecution.

This hate speech manufacturing networks must be crushed. This is vital for democracy to survive and for the judiciary not to be intimidated.

Read more: Hate speech, IPC Sec 295A, and how courts have read the law
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