06 Nov Pretty Good Podcast Episode 7: Protecting the stories of marginalised people in the digital space
How can we ensure that marginalised communities in the region are safe to share their stories online? Bishakha Datta, Executive Director of Point of View, elaborates on how the challenges these groups face on the internet are parallel to the obstacles encountered offline, as well as how allies in solidarity can protect and amplify these stories in the digital space.
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- Point of View is an organisation based in Mumbai that aims to “amplify the voices of women and marginalised genders”. Among their current projects is Reboot, which imagines a multi-modal and multi-sensory internet that works for diverse groups of people.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the human and digital rights abuses against women and the LGBTQ+ community, among them domestic workers and sex workers who, aside from losing their livelihood, have been made even more vulnerable to exploitation and blackmail online.
- In 2018, India repealed Section 377 of the Penal Code, which had previously criminalised homosexuality. But the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in country continue to be challenged. For example, the 2019 Transgender Persons Protection Bill “violate(s) the rights of trans people rather than respect and uplift long-persecuted communities” by giving courts the ability to determine and approve any legal change in gender – thus taking away trans people’s rights to self-determination.
- Among the challenges faced by marginalised groups in sharing their stories online are the lack of digital literacy and language barriers. There is also a need to translate the stories of these groups, usually in their native language, to other languages so that more people can listen to and spread them globally.
- Big Tech platforms also have a role to play in protecting these stories. But time and time again, platforms’ community guidelines and other policies are not enough to protect marginalised groups from being oppressed online.
- In the episode, we stress the importance of allies standing in solidarity with marginalised groups to ensure their stories are protected in the digital space. Here are some ways we can examine and help.
- One way to contribute to a rebooted internet that does not favour Global North perspectives is to support tech groups and apps from the Asia-Pacific. In India, for example, locally-made apps are said to be more popular in smaller cities than their Western counterparts.