What it’s all about
When Kashmiri all-women rockband Pragaash recently decided to disband, the online abuse that they had received - including rape threats - was believed to have played an important role in this. The members of Pragaash are not, however, the only ones who have faced such abuse. Over recent months, it has become increasingly evident that many women who are vocal on the Internet regularly face abuse and threats of a deeply sexualised or gendered nature, ranging from smaller forms of harassment to rape and death threats.
This phenomenon raises a number of important questions.
- How effective are existing laws in addressing the abuse of women on the Internet?
- Are legal measures enough to put an end to misogynistic behaviour online?
- What strategies do women actually use to deal with online abuse of a gendered nature?
- What other measures are required to curb sexist behaviour on the Internet?
The Internet Democracy Project has been working on a pioneering research study that seeks to understand better the mechanics of the gendered abuse women in India face online, the strategies that they use to deal with such abuse and the ways in which the legal and policy framework supports or hampers them in their efforts.
In a first of its kind, this national consultation seeks to bring together activists, lawyers and bloggers to discuss the research findings in greater depth. During the consultation, we hope to share our findings and to get the wider feminist community’s feedback on their implications. We also hope to get participants’ input on the ways forward and to come up with recommendations for lawmakers, intermediaries and law-enforcement agencies during the event. In this way, we hope that the national consultation will contribute to the development of a feminist voice in this increasingly fraught policy debate that has such important implications for central issues, including the right to freedom of expression and violence against women.
The consultation will take place on 18 February, at the India International Centre in Delhi, from 10 am to 5 pm and is hosted by the Internet Democracy Project and Point of View. Lunch and tea/coffee will be provided to all participants.
10.00-10.45 hrs. Welcome and Introductions
10.45-11.05 hrs. Tea/coffee break
11.05-13.00 hrs: Introduction to the research:
* Background on the issue
* What we did and what we found
* Questions about the law
13.00-14.00 hrs: Lunch
14.00-15.30 hrs: Ways Forward: Legal and Non-Legal Challenges
15.30-15.50 hrs: Tea/coffee break
15.50-16.50 hrs: Moving towards recommendations?
16.50-17.00 hrs: Thank yous and closing
For a pdf version of the meeting agenda, please click here.
This is a closed meeting, by invitation only. Its outcomes will be included, to the extent possible, in the final version of the research paper.