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Dangal actress Zaira Wasim ‘trolled’: How Indian TV media hyped a non-issue

There was no tweet available to believe Zaira Wasim was ‘trolled’.

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Zaira Wasim, the teen star who played Geeta Phogat in Aamir Khan’s Dangal, posted an ‘apology & confession’ on Facebook. While Zaira clearly wrote that she is apologizing for her actions over past six months and ‘meeting people’, news channels went berserk and reported her to be a victim of cyber-bullying and online trolling. All the leading news channels – NDTV, India Today, Times Now, CNN-News 18 and News X reported she was “forced” to post an apology.

Even before meeting Mehbooba, Zaira in a conversation with ANI, had rightfully expressed that she is just an on-screen actress and shouldn’t be seen as a role model. Apparently, the actress felt that by playing an onscreen role, she hasn’t done anything outstanding, and just spoke what she felt. Making a very valid statement, Zaira said: “I want youth to know that there are real role models out there whether they be in this time or in our history.”

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There was no reason to believe, as no proof is available, that Zaira has been forced to make such a comment. Till the timing of writing this piece, there was hardly any tweet where Zaira was trolled or even condemned for meeting Mehbooba. However, some overzealous news channels even started online campaign. CNN-News 18 started hashtag campaign #STANDWITHZAIRA, while NDTV and Times Now clearly broke the ‘breaking news’ that teen Dangal star has been trolled and cyber-bullied. Times Now’s headline went something like this – “Stop Online Terror.”

Here’s a look at how things went on national media

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Times Now appealed to ‘stop’ troll ‘terror’
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Dangal Girl trolled for ‘meeting Mufti’, NDTV reported.

Channels contacted politicians to react over ‘Zaira being ‘forced’ to apologise. Guess what! Ravishankar Prasad and Omar Ambdullah even condemned something which never happened. Zaira in the first sentence of her post had clearly said that her post is an “open confession/apology.” When the writer went through the entire post it looked more of a confession and what Zaira feels about things occurring vis-a-vis Dangal’s success. All the news portals which posted online copies of Zaira’s ‘trolling’, weren’t able to reveal even one tweet which abused or even condemned the actress’ activities. On the contrary, youths, largely Kashmiris, were praising and hailing her success.

Though there is no clear definition of online bullying or trolling available, but the impression drawn by masses remains that a person have been slammed by a large number of users. However, in Zaira’s case, there was not a single tweet available slamming her activities. To put matters to rest, once and for all, Zaira too, ended the hoopla by clarifying on Facebook that her apology wasn’t forced at all.

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