The Gender and Ethics Council of the Delhi Union of Journalists expresses its shock and anger at the incessant trolling and doxxing of women journalists who are being repeatedly threatened on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
In a statement today the general secretary Sujata Madhok said : While many journalists, both male and female, are attacked on social media for their reports and views it is reprehensible that women journos are targeted in deeply personal, misogynist ways, abused, slandered, called presstitutes and threatened with rape and murder. The latest attack on Barkha Dutt, that she has shared on Twitter, indicates the extremes to which hate groups go when they decide to swoop down on those opposed to their views and ideology.
These underhand methods of silencing critical, questioning voices are condemnable. All social media platforms must act urgently to prevent further misuse of their platforms. They have already been tacitly complicit in bringing down the level of socio-political discourse in India to its nadir.
As Dutt writes in her tweet, “Over the years Twitter has routinely been used to harass, abuse and smear women in India, including me. NONE OF MY COMPLAINTS HAVE EVER BEEN ACTED upon. Instead our complaints are trapped in legalese and bureaucratic mazes.” She alleges that Twitter “have revealed yourself to be vile enablers of sexual abuse and violence.”
Dutt’s experience has unfortunately been the experience of many journalists who have been trolled on Twitter. The police rarely act decisively on such complaints, just as they are indifferent to most complaints about sexual harassment and stalking online. In these circumstances it is imperative that social media sites proactively take measure to curb such organized anti-social activities. It is not enough to ask complainants to ‘block’ or ‘mute’ abusers. The DUJ demands that Twitter and Facebook issue a clear, transparent policy against trolling and act decisively on it. Abuse online has to STOP.