1. Deepak is posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Police in a busy urban district of a Metropolitan city. The students of a reputed university are planning a massive protest rally against a bill passed by the Central Government. Although, the permission has been granted by the administration for peaceful assembly, Deepak has a strong and highly reliable intel that some miscreants might disguise as students and cause violence in the rally. Deepak requests his superior and persuades him to put a stay on the rally. The students are enraged by this decision and launch a campaign on social media demanding the resignation of top police officials including Deepak’s for having denied the permission for a democratic and peaceful protest. In a matter of hours, Deepak becomes the centre of online vitriol and thousands of memes. It hurts Deepak a lot. Even his family is highly perturbed by the series of events in Deepak’s professional life.
How do you read this situation? Don’t you think social media has made governance difficult? With social media having become an integral part of public life, is it even possible to get completely detached from the virtual world and do one’s job? What qualities Deepak must possess to overcome this phase in his life? Should he respond to these personal attacks and mudslinging on the social media platforms or should he remain silent and just keep doing his job? Analyse.
- Deepak, the Deputy Commissioner of Police
- Protesting students
- Deepak’s family
- Government and higher officials
Students of University have the right to freedom of speech and expression and also to protest, however with a reasonable restriction, maintaining peace. Deepak as a Deputy Commissioner has the duty to maintain public order. He should not only see the legality of protest but also has the responsibility of securing safety of citizens as well as protestors.
With increasing use of Social media, there have been repercussions on governance.
- Spread of fake news and rumors on social media has made the tas of governance difficult.
- Government officials fails to take harsh or unpopular steps, although necessary for development due to fear of trolls/defamation on social media.
- Social media due its uncontrolled nature has promoted irresponsible behavior among few citizens like posting of unverified news.
- Social media has also promoted aggressive behavior, sometime disturbing harmony in society. Restoring peace then becomes difficult for administration.
- It has also brought question of confidentiality and privacy.
- Abusive tweets had content that promote violence against or threaten people based on their race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, age, disability or other categories. They include death threats and rape threats.
- Problematic tweets contained hurtful or hostile content, often repeated, which could reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes, although they did not meet the threshold of abuse.
In today’s world completely detaching from social media is neither possible nor desirable because of its immense benefits:-
- Easy connection to masses, Spreading information to citizens about government schemes, policy, intentions etc
- Most effective medium of communication and feedback.
- Serve as Medium of grievance redressal, bringing transparency etc.
- Make administration more answerable and responsible.
Deepak should possess following qualities to overcome form this situation:-
- Dedication to public service
- Emotional Intelligence
If he respond to these personal attacks and mudslinging on the social media platforms accept the offer:
- Clear communication can be established
- He could explain his view points
- There are chances that his response could make protestors more aggressive
- Waste of Deepak’s time and energy
- He will lose peace of mind while replying to thousands on social media.
If he remains silent and just keep doing his job
- He could utilize his time in more useful work
- He will have peace of mind
- Temporarily Deepak’s image will be defamed
- His family will be in danger of threats and trolls
Deepak should stay away from trolls on social media, while in the meantime he should engage talks with student leaders of university. Explain his viewpoint persuade them that the stay on protest was for their betterment. Also it was temporary. He could offer them change of venue or time.