Public opinion more damaging

The online debate after videos of an elderly man with young women went viral on social media was anything but healthy.

With many people easily drawing conclusions of who is right or wrong, the debate lost the main focus on the legality of sharing materials online without consent.

The discussions only caused more distress and humiliation to those involved and their families, as the verdict of the public opinion court (public trial) is more damaging. It does not sentence anyone but damages lives. Ignoring it is easier said than done.

The intention of why the videos are made public is not clear. Is it for revenge or harassment? Is it just a mindless sharing for ‘self glorification’? Online users only blamed the women.

Police are yet to question the man, as he stays in a ‘red building’ but one of the women, who was featured in three videos that are not so explicit, has already filed a harassment case against the man since May last year. She is waiting for police to charge the case to court.

The Covid-19 pandemic should not delay justice to those affected.  Justifying that there is limited control over online content is not acceptable. Law should protect the victims and bring offenders to justice.  Victims should be protected and get justice.

The recent incidents also show that just having laws against such offences is not enough. We need to implement them. Justice delayed, it is said, is justice denied. It also calls for interventions from agencies like RENEW and NCWC.

What is not right with the ‘beral’ (viral) videos is filming without consent and also sharing intimate private moments in public. What people do in their private or personal life should remain private.

It’s also not acceptable to take the matter lightly and share the videos. No one will gain anything out of it besides the momentary cheap thrill. It is those women we are making a mockery of today. It can be anyone in the future – our daughters and sisters next time. We will only feel the pain when it is about us.

With more than 681,000 people subscribing to 4G and 3G internet services in the country as of September last year and more parents forced to buy smartphones for their children for online education, it’s time we ensure our children grow up in a safe online society where they have right over their privacy. Educating our children on the safety of online platforms has become a necessity.

Let us also not glorify anything that breaches privacy but condemn it.

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