Editor’s Guild Condemns online harassment of Women Journalists

 The Editors Guild of India condemns the continuing online harassment of women journalists,

which includes targeted and organised online trolling as well as threats of sexual abuse. What

is further disturbing is that most of these attacks are targeted at journalists who have been

outspokenly critical of the current government and the ruling party, in an effort to silence

them under the intimidation of such attacks. This is a travesty of all democratic norms, and in

violation of law.

The latest instances of such organised trolling and harassment are revealed by the

investigations done by The Wire, which laid bare an extensive and well-funded network built

around an app, Tek Fog, which steals unused WhatsApp accounts to send out toxic messages

to targeted journalists. The purpose of these deeply hurtful messages was to instill fear in

them and to prevent them from expressing themselves freely and go about their jobs.

According to the reports, several women journalists were subjected to thousands of abusive

tweets.

There were also the recent instances of online auction of Muslim women by at least two open

source apps on the GitHub platform, which included journalists critical of the government.

Though law enforcement agencies have arrested those supposedly behind such apps, there is

need for further investigation in order to ensure that all those behind such despicable acts,

even beyond those arrested, are brought to justice.

Editors Guild demands that the government takes urgent steps to break and dismantle this

misogynistic and abusive digital eco-system, and that thorough investigations are carried out

to identify and punish the culprits and entities behind it. Further, given the allegations that

there may be the involvement of influential people linked to the ruling party with the app Tek

Fog, the Guild demands that the Supreme Court of India takes cognisance of the matter and

order a probe into it.

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