Lok Sabha Election

Amnesty lens on abusive tweets against 100 women LS candidates

Amnesty India is hiring volunteers to analyse tweets.

Amnesty India is hiring volunteers to analyse tweets.

Launching a crowd-sourced study on the abuse that Indian women politicians face on Twitter, Amnesty India says online trolling aimed at threatening and silencing them must be considered a human rights violation.

“It’s so easy for men to dismiss it as just ‘trolling’, but we are talking about rape threats, death threats, stalking…words which can lead to deep physical and emotional harm. These are threats of criminal activity, and they are aimed at silencing or pushing out women,” said Nazia Erum, media and advocacy manager at Amnesty India. “We hope this study will highlight the seriousness of the issue… These are an abuse of women’s rights, of human rights.”

Amnesty India is recruiting 2,000 digital volunteers — for Troll Patrol India — to analyse abusive tweets sent to 100 women candidates in the ongoing Lok Sabha election, during, before and after polling. They will be categorised by type and level of abuse, with each tweet being analysed by three different volunteers. The human rights organisation hopes to build an evidence base on the extent and nature of online abuse faced by prominent women politicians and its effect on their freedom of expression, and to initiate dialogue on the response and transparency procedures needed from online platforms.

“While both men and women politicians face online abuse, women politicians face abuse that is often gendered due to their political participation. Women from religious and ethnic minorities, transwomen, queer women and Dalit women are further targeted due to their marginalised status,” said an Amnesty India statement earlier this week.

A similar study covering 800 women politicians and journalists in the U.K. and the U.S. found that they were sent 1.1 million abusive tweets in 2017, at an average of one tweet every 30 seconds. While women across the political spectrum were impacted, black women were disproportionately targeted, being 84% more likely than white women to be sent abusive tweets.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 12:25:34 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/amnesty-lens-on-abusive-tweets-against-100-women-ls-candidates/article27180563.ece