Fears of Doxxing Make Student Protesters Ask the Media to Protect Their Identities

Fears of Doxxing Make Student Protesters Ask the Media to Protect Their Identities

Students at several schools and universities in Connecticut are now protesting on campus to support the Palestinians. This is something that will get them caught on TV news. However, many people don’t want to talk to the public or use their full names when they do.

Chisato Kimura, a student at Yale Law School, says there’s a reason for that.

Kimura said, “Someone tried to stop me from getting my scholarship.” “Some of the messages said things like ‘You deserve to die.'”

He spoke out in the weeks following October 7’s surprise attack by Hamas on Israel. After that, Israel attacked and bombed Gaza in response.

Kimura says that information about her was shared outside of school, and she was harassed. She said that other students don’t want to talk to reporters under their real names for a number of reasons, such as fear of being harassed or lack of trust in the media.

This makes things even more complicated because some reporters haven’t built strong relationships with student sources.

A lot of journalists have trouble with these practices because they usually describe sources with their full names and only give them anonymity in very rare cases to protect the source or for other moral reasons.

Kimura said that when she spoke out against the war, she was “doxxed,” which means that personal information about her was posted online maliciously as a way to get back at her.

Even though she had been through a lot, she said she is now more willing to talk to the media, in part because her story is already out there. She knows why some students aren’t as ready to talk to the media, because pro-Palestinian protesters are being attacked on social media.

“I completely get it.” “It’s scary,” Kimura said. On a lot of Twitter threads, people’s faces are shown at different events.

Instead, many protesters have sent reporters to chosen spokespeople, who often do speak on the record for the students who are protesting.

Jonathan Wharton, a political science professor at Southern Connecticut State University, says that people’s lack of trust in government organizations is also a factor in this.

Wharton said, “I see this distrust of institutions so often in the classroom, especially in the last year or two during COVID. It’s not just the media; it’s the government, the military, financial institutions, and even higher education institutions.”

But some students don’t want to interact with the media as much because they think it has biases, which may or may not be true.

There is unfair and incorrect information being spread about the goals and motivations of protesters, according to Farhan Memon, chair of the Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). This makes many students, Muslim, and Arab Americans less ready to speak out on the record.

Some of that is caused by the fact that there isn’t enough variety in the media, which leads to bias and misunderstandings against Muslim and Arab Americans. On the other hand, there are realistic elements at play.

He said that there are designated spokesmen to make sure that messages are clear.

Memon said, “In a way, they’re protecting the participants who might not be as easily able to talk about what they really want to talk about.”

Still other students at schools like Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) don’t like pro-Palestinian protesters because they don’t stand by what they believe in, he said.

Stephen Guerra is the leader of the College Republicans group at SCSU and says that members have been abused.

But Guerra gave specific examples of a peer who was bullied on social media and lost friends because of it.

Students who support the Palestinian cause have been threatened with death, sued, and doxxed, and their job chances could be hurt.

Guerra said that they don’t believe the media either, but that the media is a way for them to get their message out, even if it can be annoying in Connecticut, which is a very Democratic state.

He said, “We like talking to the media because we feel like we need to defend what we believe in.”

Kimura is also willing to talk to the media, in part because she has less to lose and in part because she says that being a student at an Ivy League school gives her the right to speak out about a war in which thousands of civilians have been killed and in which her school is complicit because it continues to support Israel.

“No matter what, I would speak out because what’s happening in Gaza is horrible.”

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