How Can the Police and Media help in Conflict Areas?

As of now, we see a spectrum of definitions for the world ‘conflict’. It could arise from possibly anything, particularly if the interest of one individual, community, caste, religion, sex or country is hurt is any of the ways possible. Be it sentimental, or over credit, breach of information or whatever it may be. The result is all we see with our naked eyes; clashes over places, burning of public and private property, loss of lives, inconvenience to people over transport, medical and education facilities. The list goes on and on. But here we ought to find out what role do police and the media have to play in order to understand how they could be used in conjunction over coping with the conflict-affected area.

Police is a body that is put in the functioning by the state to enforce law and order. With the changing times and the population explosion, the number of policemen has to be increased to cater to the needs of the people like a doctor who looks after a particular number of people. We naturally presume ourselves to be safer where they are a number of policemen stationed to take control if the situation goes out of hand.

Social media, as of now is not a new invention of a sort. It was when people hardly knew what Facebook and Whatsapp really mean and we intend to do on it. Most countries of the world such as Africa have mobile network access where water and gas lines are yet to reach. Such is the trivia that we can hardly imagine a world without a mobile phone and social media access.

Conflicts are not a new phenomenon. People have been fighting for ages and with more advancement in hands, things have reached newer heights in causing hurt to the opponents. It gets trickier here when social media is used to spread any information. Remember, social media has no gatekeepers. This means that a commoner gains supreme power to create and manipulate content so as to suit his/needs or intentions. This is just the beginning. Exclusive information spreads like wildfire. Say, for example, Munish, a shopkeeper witnesses few guys eve-teasing women in the wee hours of the day. He takes out his mobile camera and shoots the video. Now, where it gets more heart wrecking is that even passerby pays no heed to the grave situation the girl is going through. The way the girl is dressed is somehow evidently tells of her religion. As, an intolerant society where religion speaks volumes naturally incites the sentiments of people who see the video over the internet. We haven’t noticed but the shopkeeper himself could have helped the girl. But exclusivity is important, isn’t it?

What we learn from the scenario is the failing moral values of society. Social media has given an immense push to these trends as living in the virtual world has become the ultimate truth. Now you ask, a world where everyone exists so does exist the individuals called policemen and a body called police. Whatever the world may be, real or virtual, it consists of people after all. So, to maintain integrity over this place, cyberpolice is put in place. The functioning of this body is purely dependent on how the country is putting effort to keep things running effectively. Even if cyberspace is a newer term for Indians, foreign countries are way ahead in this context.

In conflict areas, cyber police have to keep a close eye on the happenings. Majorly, internet services are completely cut off in such areas. But what we don’t realize that if we cut off such a provision that can provide us inside information of the area, we are adequately cutting off the leads on our own. In this case, special team should be constituted within time with sole purpose of monitoring. This may prove risky but effective as well. It all depends on how the personnel takes up the charge. In addition of adding woes to the public, it also lessens the chances of catching hold of the situation.

In the age of free press, social media has provided the great impetus in the dissemination of information. Everything is accessible in one place. So does, propaganda based information lie free over the cyberspace. It’s upon the user to choose or not to choose. Its our natural inclination to choose ‘new’. It evokes our senses in newer ways possible. Naturally, police cannot put handcuffs to the psychology of any individual. But what it could do is to act on the frontline in spreading the message of positivity and integrity. Events that any community takes up with the sole motive of spreading awareness and information that may be of interest to a community of people can be put on the internet beforehand. This task could best be done by cyber police. A regular search of content must be done on the internet over different social media platforms. It should get the authority to put down the pages and profiles who appears to portray national integrity in a bad light. It should cover a large number of audience as much as it can to stay between the people and work in the best interest of theirs.

Finally, a better investment of skill and technology is the need of the hour for the cyber cell. We do realize the ground-level situation of how cyberspace is handled by the police. For most individuals, the field is new. Proper tutorship is missing. The government on the state and national level don’t see the elephant in the room as far as failure to curb cyber menace is concerned. Proper knowledge and training is necessary.

If police and social media coordinates well, the conflicts can become a thing of the past. Effective care is mandatory.

Yetesh Sharma