Director Zoya Akhtar, in a jointly organised session by the Population Foundation of India and Jaipur Literature Festival, opened up about cyber bullying and how she has been repeatedly targeted and attacked for her Muslim identity, gender, and looks by both men and women. In her talk she also addressed the most devastating comments that threaten her with either physical or sexual violence.
“Social media gives people anonymity while bullying and abusing just about anyone and there is no accountability. The fact that social media platforms enable the abusers of women by not identifying them or holding them accountable is a recipe for disaster because it is just a matter of time before the virtual abuse seeps into real spaces,” Zoya emphasised.
The Made in Heaven producer also expressed her concern over the fact that this kind of online abuse spares no one, not even young girls for whom the psychological damage may prove to be debilitating. This deterioration in online discourse, however, she says it is not a recent development but a trend that has become increasingly toxic.
“There will come a time when alternative platforms with more stringent checks will emerge as a counterpoint, while the existing platforms will either have to change their moderation policies or will remain saddled with only bullies abusing each other,” she said in conclusion.