I responded to Shiwani Neupane’s May 10 tweet about “discussion on freedom of speech” with a link to my blog post about herself, Robert Penner, me and freedom of speech, published the morning of May 9.
Happy to hear my piece has started a discussion on freedom of speech. Wonderful! Differing opinions don’t bother me. Homogenous opinions do.
— Shiwani Neupane (@ShiwaniNeupane) May 10, 2016
— Dorje Gurung (@Dorje_sDooing) May 10, 2016
What I didn’t know about was the “piece” — her article “Arresting a Troll”, published in MyRepublica on May 8.
I have a number of issues with the piece but I’ll focus on just a few.
One of her objections to Penner appears to be that he “went after people’s opinions like they were scientific facts, never grasping the concept that value judgments are subjective.”
In other words, she — who has almost 9K followers on Twitter alone — doesn’t want held accountable to her opinions on social media because they are “subjective.”
Later she says, “Mr. Troll had become like an army general for other trolls who lapped up his tweets like the man’s tweets were word of God,” which made me laugh! And that’s the only proper response to such a statement!
Her, “Let’s say a man on the street walked up to you and began to harass you with the same questions you had no intention of answering…” analogy is way off the mark!
She is right about walking out of ones home into the streets NOT being an invitation for random people to interact with you.
HOWEVER, tweeting (and posting on social media in general) is.
Firstly because you have “followers” (unlike when you go walking on the streets) AND those tweets (or posts) — just because of how social media works — draw non-followers’ attention too, sometimes reaching thousands of people in a matter of minutes. Some or even many may respond — even unfavorably — which you have basically agreed to being open to when signing up and using the said media.
She even blames “one of Mr. Troll’s army” for the online harassment she received, but nowhere does she recognize Penner and others’ (Penner’s “army’s”?) effort to successfully get Facebook to remove the demeaning Page someone created to harass and bully her.
Having made the point of her op-ed amply clear — in the title, the tone, the first eleven paragraphs etc. — towards the end of the article, she does say she is “behemently against the government’s action” and “strongly and genuinely condemn the government” devoting two paragraphs to that in the 15-paragraph article!
To reiterate, she does use words such as “behemently,” “strongly” and “genuinely!” And, she also goes on to say, “I have no intention of defaming him” in the last paragraph.
So I guess what she is trying to say is that you’ll get what she is trying to do/say as long as you ignore the first eleven paragraphs of the fifteen-paragraph article. 🙂
There are other issues, a number of which the comments below the article point out. And since they are considerably more interesting and enlightening than the article, I have taken the liberty of reproducing some of them.
She might be “happy” about having “started a discussion,” and might actually be feeling “wonderful” about it, but she has not bothered to engage with any of the comments in the article nor with any of the responses to her tweet. What a discussion!
(See references at the bottom for two other op-eds on the subject.)
Incidentally, Republica is the same National Daily whose Chief Editor had this to say about Penner:
Harassment, trolls & insults aren’t freedom of expression. A white man’s immigration violations can’t be masked under free speech. Period.
— Subhash Ghimire (@subhash580) May 4, 2016
Follow the link to the tweet to read the responses, many of which are really good.
* * * * * * * *
A fool’s paradise. A considerably more level-headed treatment of the topic by Pramod Mishra in The Kathmandu Post.
Unbalanced Acts. An op-ed on the same topic by Sushma Joshi, a writer and a friend.
Arrest and deportation from Nepal. Robert Penner’s Facebook photo album containing relevant images.