WOW | What You Think

Zero Tolerance On Social Media Abuse

Reddit case ‘Bois Locker Room’

The ‘Bois Locker room’ controversy erupted in India recently after a conversation among a group of teenagers from Delhi came out into the open where some males were found engaging in extremely inappropriate discussion about women. Subsequently, the Police had registered a case on the matter and started investigating it. Now, reports are coming in that at least one screenshot where an account called ‘Siddharth’ was suggesting the rape of a girl was being run by the same girl.

As per reports, “The purpose of her sending such chat messages using a fake, fictional identity was to check the reaction of the receiver boy and the strength of his character, especially when someone talks bad things about the girl herself.”

Text: Ankita Jain
wow photo file © Ram Tandukar, Gokul Shrees, Sabina Mainali

Nisha Adhikari Malla
Actor/ Mountaineer/Activist

What was the need behind the Zero Tolerance campaign?

We are building a mindful and non-violent movement against unqualified leaders, nepotism, inequality, impunity and corruption to create a safer world. There are several loopholes in the existing laws against sexual harassment and cybercrimes, this campaign is an attempt to address those laws and bring into light the way forward.

It is also my responsibility to build a world for future generations. I am trying to connect the dots between the existing laws. Also, this campaign is a great source of research data on the several incidents faced by people. I started with a Facebook page on May 13.

What objectives will the platform meet?

I have travelled all across Nepal and this experience has brought me closer to the people. There are problems at the grass-root level and we are trying our best to reach there and come to a solution. We aim to engage in peaceful narratives and discussions. We are looking forward to a better understanding of various perspectives and states of mind from various backgrounds and age groups.

The second phase of discussion will revolve around the existing laws, its effectiveness and accessibility, and the loopholes that need to be worked on. We will co-work with various government bodies to make the law accessible at the grass-root level and propose amendments. Active advocacy will be done.

Moreover, we are communicating with the people and trying to know what they want, we are getting the petition signed and bringing the issue to the limelight.

The mission statement around zero tolerance mentions five things: unqualified leader, nepotism, impunity, inequality, and corruption. But so far the focus seems to be only on cybercrime, offensive comments, and trolling on social media. Your comments.

We have started with cybercrime and will be moving forward on several grounds. The Reddit case was a serious issue and we wanted to have an in-depth discussion on the Facebook group of Zero Tolerance. The issue revolves around how social media can be controlled in terms of content segregation. We have collaborated with psychoanalysts and legal experts as well. Anyone who wants counseling or advocacy can reach us via help@zerotolerance. So far we are working on five cases. We are guiding people, creating awareness, and also counseling for one hour a day.

Some people are naming it as a ‘division between celebrity and media’ while others are criticising it as a publicity stunt. How would you respond to it?

I was ready for the worst criticism. And honestly, I was prepared for comments like, it’s a publicity stunt and more. I would say such comments are just minimal damage. The rest 80% comments on zero tolerance are positive. Moreover, I did it with a good intention and I am glad I am a part of this journey. I am learning immensely in the process. And I believe art and platforms like such go hand-in-hand. Through Shunya Arts, we are inviting people to share any form of art that goes with the cause.

Further, when I find someone capable, I am happy to handle this platform and move on.

When a person puts themself into public space, can they only expect good comments and applause? Should they not be braced for the negativity as well?

The media should be responsible for the content it produces. It is the responsibility of the media house to crosscheck and filter unwanted comments. Constructive criticism is always appreciated but not comments which include abuse. Everyone is entitled to share their opinion but not in the form of vulgar words. Peaceful narrative is what we are asking for. We are raising our voice against a group of journalists who are thriving on offensive comments.