Caste-based Hate Speech in the Digital Age

Report on Caste-based Hate Speech in the Digital Age

We released a critical and comprehensive report titled "Caste Hate on the Internet and Remedies to Combat," an in-depth study led by Social & Media Matters in collaboration with (Tech Partner), National Commission for Dalit and Human Rights (Campaign Partner) and Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work & Descent (Campaign Partner). This report sheds light on the persistent and evolving challenge of caste-based hate speech within digital spaces and its potential ramifications on societal harmony, particularly with the approaching 2024 Indian elections.

The report, a result of exhaustive digital ethnography, analyzed over 1000 social media posts across platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and X. It highlights how caste-based discrimination and hate speech have found new avenues for proliferation in the digital age, exacerbating social divides and impacting marginalized communities.

Key findings include the identification of direct verbal abuse, memes, misinformation, and cyberbullying as the main forms of caste hate speech online. These manifestations of digital casteism not only violate individual rights but also contribute to the perpetuation of systemic inequality.

As India approaches its 2024 general elections, the report raises concerns about the potential escalation of caste-based hate speech. Elections are a pivotal moment for democracy but can also become flashpoints for discrimination and violence. The politicization of caste identities can intensify hate speech, impacting the fairness and peaceful conduct of elections.

The report calls on policymakers, social media platforms, civil society, and the Election Commission of India to adopt a multi-faceted approach to combat online hate speech effectively. Recommendations include enhancing legal frameworks, improving platform moderation practices, and fostering community engagement to address and mitigate caste-based discrimination.

"Social & Media Matters (S&MM) is committed to advancing social justice and equality," said Amitabh Kumar, Founder, at S&MM. "With this report, we aim to bring attention to the urgent need for collective action against caste-based hate speech, ensuring a safer, more inclusive digital and societal environment as India moves towards another critical election."

The report also emphasizes the need for social media platforms to acknowledge and adhere to Indian laws and norms, similar to their compliance with regulations in Western countries, to prevent the digital perpetuation of caste hate and discrimination.

The launch of this report is accompanied by a call to action for all stakeholders involved to prioritize the fight against online hate speech and work towards a more inclusive digital sphere, particularly in the context of the upcoming elections.

READ FULL REPORT HERE: : Caste-based Hate Speech in the Digital Age
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