Silencing The Truth


OrwellKashmir.jpg

Truth indeed is a powerful weapon, which is perhaps the reason why social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube have now decided to filter any content which mentions Kashmir.

Ever since 5 August when the Indian authorities imposed a curfew in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, many activists from around the world took to these social media platforms to raise the voice for Kashmir and high light the atrocities and gross human rights violations being committed in the valley by the Indian occupying forces.

As truth began to make its voice heard, these social media platforms began to clamp down against all those speaking for Kashmir. Accounts of social media activists were selectively banned, these included accounts of many prominent journalists from Pakistan.

Earlier this Sunday, Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor had said the authorities had taken up with Twitter and Facebook the suspension of Pakistani social media accounts posting content in support of Kashmir. 

“Pakistan authorities have taken up the case with Twitter and Facebook against suspending Pakistani accounts for posting in support of Kashmir. Indian staff at their regional headquarters is the reason,” he had tweeted on his personal account.

Giving details about the complaint lodged with Twitter, Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Digital Media Arslan Khalid told Dawn that the Pakistan Telecommu­nication Authority (PTA) had lodged an official complaint with Twitter’s regional office on Monday.

“We are approaching this case with a multi-pronged strategy where PTA has sent the complaint mentioning [200] accounts to the regional office seeking an explanation for their suspension. We are also working on a long-term strategy through the National IT Board (NITB) so that such a situation does not arise again,” he said.

Twitter, he said, held no right to moderate political debates on its platform which were well within its community guidelines.

When asked to confirm the number of accounts specified to Twitter, the PTA said it would issue a statement on the matter soon.

A list of accounts — provided to Dawn by the focal person — reportedly suspended over Kashmir in the past week, includes Twitter handles run by some government officials as well.

One such account is of the focal person to the Punjab chief minister on digital media, Mashwani Azhar. A screenshot of Twitter’s notice to Mr Azhar purports that the platform suspended the account for impersonation.

“His account was suspended for impersonation when he was tweeting on Kashmir. Another example is of Waqas Amjab of the housing ministry. The biased behaviour of Twitter over Kashmir is ridiculous,” said Mr Khalid.

Pakistan can and will protest against this bias being shown by these social media platforms but it is apparent that nothing much will be done. This bias has now been institutionalized in these social media platforms. Be it facebook, twitter, instagram or twitter, any mention of Kashmir, Palestine or Gaza flags up your account, demonitizes your videos and you get axed if you voice your opinions too loudly.

It is about time people realized that these social media platforms are no longer transparent, they operate according to their own institutionalized bias and profit motive. There was a time when social media was considered an outlet of truth, when revolutions started on social media and people organized to topple oppressive regimes. We saw how people used social media during the Arab spring to expose brutalities and human rights violations from both the oppressive regimes and rebels, the world saw how the “Maidan protes” in Ukraine got traction from facebook. Those days, however are gone now. It seems that oppressive regimes have figured out a way to curb freedom of expression on social media because these platforms are in the end, corporate entities. Profit motive and interests of stake holders are supreme and truth can therefore, take a break.

The following video from Truth Stream Media showcases the best way to create content on social media without offending the “moderators”.

This is the way ahead for content creators on social media platforms. Truth has taken a hit in this post post-modern era. Speaking up against oppression, for the oppressed is quickly becoming punishable.

What these social media platforms are telling us is that people in Kashmir and Palestine deserve to die, be tortured physically and mentally and raped. Oppressive regimes like those of India and Israel are in reality peace loving and philanthropic governments where human rights are being up held to the highest possible degree.

This is the truth, schools in Kashmir are open, 4000+ people have not been detained, there is no curfew since 2 weeks and people in Kashmir are happy.

Nothing is wrong in this world, everything is fine.

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