My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter is published today, Saturday 16th September 2017
As rightly pointed out by Judicial Commissioner Aedit Abdullah, who is presiding over a widely reported rape trial, disrespectful online comments on victims would only discourage others in similar circumstances to step forward (Judge criticises netizens for rape victim remarks; Sept 14).
While we can allow free expression and speech, there is a need to manage comments properly, otherwise vile statements posted by online bullies on the Internet or social media platforms will make us feel unsafe and insecure.
Given the anonymity enabled by the Internet, online bullies become very bold and believe it is their right to hurl abusive and hurtful comments about people or on things they dislike.
More often than not, these abusers do not put their real names or show their faces.
The damaging effects of disparaging online comments can cause psychological problems to people who are severely distressed.
I have noticed that when one commenter posts the first negative message, more negative comments and trolls will follow.
As there are thousands of nasty postings that include the use of vulgar language every day by people whose identities are unknown, there is no way all the “trolls” can be eliminated and the bullies prosecuted.
To curb online venom, perhaps it is timely to review regulations and develop tech solutions to put a stop to those who take pleasure in damaging lives.
It may become necessary for online commenters to use their real names.
In the case of disrespectful postings on social media like Facebook, victims should report the matter to the administrators.
Raymond Anthony Fernando