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"No, I don't want to post anymore. You won't like my voice."

We cannot think of media in its traditional form anymore – that which we see on TV, or in the news. Social media has gained enough traction to become arguably the most important form of media in present times, and when I think about the role it plays in conflict and education, I can’t help but think of Mashal Khan – a student who was lynched and ruthlessly murdered by a mob of students after being accused of blasphemy. There is a lot to unpack here about how the media aggravated this situation. Mashal Khan was murdered on 13th April, 2017. Just a month prior to that, Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister at that time, had given support to a social media crackdown on blasphemous content and tweeted about blasphemy being an unpardonable offence – a statement which could and possibly did have incredibly dangerous consequences.


The background of this incident is surrounded by a lot of rumors, inconsistencies, and uncertainties. Some claim he posted blasphemous content on his Facebook page while others claim he was simply criticizing the university for bureaucracy and overcharging students. The university then announced he was being investigated for blasphemous activity, and a mob was formed. This is often glossed over, but I wonder how the mob was created in the first place and how they coordinated their activities. We have all seen how social media (including WhatsApp) is used to spread misinformation and rumors. It breaks my heart to think that it is possible this mob was created because some students took this as an opportunity to spread rumors of him posting blasphemous content.


Social media gives everyone a voice in theory, and it can often turn into a very dangerous, conflict-and-violence-inciting tool, particularly against those whose voice is not "liked" or "accepted". Like-minded individuals easily come together to take on the role of vigilantes. Such disturbing activity can be seen in how minorities are targeted online – whether Muslims are targeted for terrorist activities or individuals of certain races are blamed for criminal activities. This has a very real impact on how students belonging to these groups are then treated, often resulting in violence. I would like to take this moment to remind everyone of how social media can heavily impact an individual’s access to education, and how the feeling of being unsafe can affect their focus due to the mental turmoil. It isn’t necessarily just in extreme cases of minority oppression, but even just considering how social media bullying, violation of privacy and rumors lead to acts of violence and depression, where students are either forced to quit their education or do so themselves due to the feeling of isolation. So, while media gives everyone a chance to express themselves, it also poses a very real threat to the safety of students, particularly without any checks and balances in place.


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This Mashal Khan incident tells us how the society has become intolerant and people have become fearful of posting anything on social media. This also tells us that there are rifts in educational institutions as well on the basis of religious or political views and once affiliation on this basis is enough reason to kill him and this incident has shown us the sad reality of our society.

いいね!

As I grow older, I understand why my parents have been so concerned and protective when it came to the use of social media. In a world where words get twisted, tolerance is restricted, and the consequences are unpredictable, one is forced into silencing themselves and their thoughts. Mashal Khan's case has been an eerie reminder of how intolerant, unforgiving, and harsh our society can be with no regards of any benefit of the doubts or any second chances. Thank you for talking about this. His is a story that had an impact on a lot of us.

いいね!

Truly on point! I believe that in today's world, media's impact on the escalation of conflict is something more widely recognized than the media's impact on peace-building in Education. History has shown that the media can incite people toward violence. Hitler used the media to create an entire worldview of hatred for Jews, homosexuals, and other minority groups. The story of Mashal Khan is also something that can not be forgotten.

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Absolutely! I wonder why this is the case - if news that incites hatred receives more traction and virality, which in itself is scary and says a lot about the viewers.

いいね!

The power that social media possesses in the modern day and age is incredibly scary. People can misinterpret your words and create false narratives that can prove to be fatal. It is already sad enough to consider that freedom of speech is a myth in our country and the very fact that it can be twisted to fit the agendas of a select few sets a dangerous precedent for the future. The case of Mashal Khan was a tragedy. However, not much has changed since then and the mentality that prevails within our country, there is every chance that there can be more of such instances in the future. PS: Extremely well written!

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Thank you so much for commenting! And yes, I rarely express my POV out of fear that someone will misinterpret and I will never even get a chance to explain. I feel social media unfortunately really allows people to come together in the worst possible way and validate each other's negative worldviews.

いいね!

Mashal Khan's story never fails to send chills down my spine. So horrible and unjust what happened to him, yet its such a grim reminder of the extent of power mob mentality holds here and social media can be as endangering as it is empowering.

(Wonderfully written btw)

いいね!
返信先

Thank you so much! And yes, I hope we figure out how to take the danger out of it - and I wish social media channels took their responsibility more seriously and made more of an effort to create safe spaces.

いいね!
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