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Securing Women's Right to Free Speech on Social Media

Given the abusive behaviour, harassment and stalking women face from men on the internet, there is a need to take appropriate measures to address this. While the laws criminalise such behaviour, there is a need to put in place adequate mechanisms to ensure that women's concerns are addressed quickly and effectively. The proposed "cyber cell," though very limited at the moment, can become an effective tool if envisioned with a focus on enforcement.

The recent creation of a “cyber cell” in the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) is a response to the growing concern over the targeted misogyny that is widespread in social media (Choudhury 2016). Though there was initial confusion as to what the exact role of this body was, it is clear now that, at present, it is just an email address for women to send complaints against bullying, stalking, or abusive behaviour directed against them online.

That women face such harassment online is obvious to anyone who has spent any amount of time on social media or on the internet. That this is born out of a misogynistic impulse to “put women in their place,” or make them feel insecure or threatened about speaking in pubic is also fairly clear.

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