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Sunday debate: Should stars speak their mind on social media?

“Tweet what you think”: By Swara Bhaskar

Every time I’m introduced on a public platform, the presenter prefixes my name with a description: outspoken.

I looked up the definition of outspoken: “Expressing strong opinions without worrying if other people are offended.” I wondered if stating a fact qualifies as having a strong opinion.

 It is day.  This soup is hot. There is a pandemic raging in the world. We are in the month of August. A man was lynched to death on the accusation of carrying beef.

We live at a time when stating facts is called being outspoken. So, I desist from preaching that celebrities should be vocal about their opinions.

Why? Look at the examples before us. The biggest superstars have not been spared when they made innocuous remarks about intolerance in India. I look at the number of brands I’ve lost for being ‘too vocal about political issues’. One termination contraction said my support to CAA-NRC protests brought ‘disrepute’ to the brand. When we are going to penalise people for being vocal, what right do we have to expect celebrities to speak out?

The only thing I expect celebrities to do is fact check what they share on social media. As for actual opinions, let’s have that expectation from celebrities the day we are able to respect the right of people to freely express opinions.

That said, I’m clearly a sucker for punishment!

“Be cautious, both tweeters and followers!”: By Maanvi Gagroo

While it is a fact that ‘celebrities’ have to censor their views online for fear of a backlash, I don’t think it’s at all fair!

Yes, it is prudent to be ‘cautious’, but is that not the duty of every user? We need to start treating our ‘celebrities’ as humans who may falter and err. There’s always room for criticism, but to come in organised hordes and attack one person is digital barbarism! ‘Cancel’ culture cannot be healthy in the long and short run .

I do think that ‘celebrities’, owing to their following, must not propagate unverified news and educate themselves on the topic they wish to speak on.

As a society, we need to choose our role models wisely. To turn to an actor or sportsperson for expert political or legal advice is naïve, no? And those are just opinions!

Anyone with a certain number of followers, is now a ‘celebrity’. As followers, we need to be aware of that.

From HT Brunch, September 6, 2020

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