New Delhi: As a society we don’t nurture the opinion of young people and the culture of debating social issues is completely missing, but the rise of social media has empowered people to highlight issues that bother them, said a social media activist.

“A number of people have voice today because of social media. As a nation we don’t have a culture of speaking up and hence we never cared to provide a platform to the people, especially youngsters to voice their opinion. But now things are changing,” said Anshul Tewari, founder and editor-in-chief of Youth Ki Awaaz, an online platform for youth.

“There was a time when it was a matter of who gets to speak up, but the rise of social media has changed the complete dynamics of this idea and now it is a matter of who gets to be heard,” he added.

Tewari was speaking at a session “Should Social Media Be Censored” at Oxford Bookstore here where he highlighted how the beginning of the Arab Spring fuelled a revolution in the field of social media.

“The dictator regimes in the west Asian countries had banned the Internet when the Arab Spring began. But they couldn’t control social media, so all the news updates about what was happening in their countries was reported from what journalists saw and received through social media,” said Tewari.

Social media has often been criticised for fanning sexist and racist remarks and communal tension, with people getting offended at the slightest remark and joining a tirade against those who posted their opinions.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court striking down Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act has been welcomed by the champions of free speech and curbed the tendencies of those who have misused this law.

“The issue with social media is that it allows people to get away easily as they wear a garb of anonymity under which they post offensive comments,” he said.
“Internet should be a safe space and there should be a mechanism to make it safer for women,” he added.

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