Editors’ Guild Slams Abusive Trolling of Journalists

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Photo: Outlook

As much of these attacks came in the form of trolls on social media, the Guild called upon these platforms, primarily Twitter, to initiate action against those responsible.

NEW DELHI (IANS) — The Editors Guild of India on Friday condemned the ongoing tirade of abuse and intimidation of media persons, especially women journalists, in the wake of their reporting and commentary in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

As much of these attacks came in the form of trolls on social media, the Guild called upon these platforms, primarily Twitter, to initiate action against those responsible.

“Since much of this is being done through social media, the Guild urges their respective managements to exercise due caution and a sense of responsibility,” the forum tweeted its statement.

“Some of what is being allowed clearly amounts to sexual abuse and instigation to violence,” the statement said in a clear reference to senior journalist Barkha Dutt being targeted with online abuse, inflammatory messages and sexist slurs after she tweeted a post offering help to Kashmiris, who were being targeted in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack. 

Following Dutt taking up the matter with Twitter, other journalists have unanimously spoken out against online harassment that must be held accountable.

The Editors Guild of India’s statement signed by President Shekhar Gupta and two other office-holders, urged corporations owning these social platforms that they need not be reminded about “not allowing unlawful behaviour”.

“Business models thriving on hate of any kind are reprehensible,” it said. They also asked police cyber crime cells to address on priority any complaint lodged by journalists facing abuse.

This comes two days after the government took cognisance of threats and abuse of senior journalists. The Ministry of Communications and IT has issued a notice asking the telecom operators in question to take appropriate action.

“As per the Licence Agreement, the onus is also on the telecom operators to ensure that their networks are not used for obscene, malicious and objectionable transmission,” it said, asking them to open dedicated call centre/helpline for receiving such complaints.

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