Dealing with Online Racism
NYP student Lai Shimun was caught making racist comments about Indians in her Twitter and Facebook accounts. Besides being bashed in the Internet, Ashveen Nair was among those who took a step further and made a police report about the student’s online racism.
Should there be community moderation or is this the right time and place for the police to step in? A few years ago, some racist bloggers were arrested under the Sedition Act. Two did time and one did community service. Both cases were anti-Malay racism. Would the NYP student be dragged to court?If not, would it be double-standards?
After all, the high-handedness of the government then was to show that it is serious in dealing with online racism by brandishing the Sedition Act. However, that revitalised Act and community moderation generally failed as a deterrence to check online behaviour. People in the Internet have forgotten about online racism as a no-no since then and Shimun might become the latest Sedition Act scarecrow about the pitfalls of online racism.
Looks like community moderation has not worked well in silencing hate speech and so government regulation to deal with online racism has to be geared up. We are not alone actually – Liam Stacey, a student in the UK was recently jailed for 56 days for making racist tweets about a footballer.