In its statement issued on Friday, the Guild has urged the managements of social media platforms to exercise due caution and a sense of responsibility.

Clearly amounts to sexual abuse Editors Guild condemns vulgar texts to journos
news Controversy Friday, February 22, 2019 - 14:44

After multiple journalists took to Twitter sharing screenshots of abusive and vulgar messages they have been receiving in the past couple of days, the Editors Guild of India put out a statement condemning the incidents and sought action from social media platforms as well as the government against the abusive handles and phone numbers.

Journalists like Barkha Dutt, Abhisar Sharma and Ravish Kumar shared screenshots of vulgar and abusive messages that were sent to them. Barkha Dutt shared on Twitter that she was sent over 1,000 messages from unknown numbers, one of which even included an unsolicited picture of a man’s genitals. According to a report in Scroll, the government directed telecom operators to take immediate action against users who sent obscene text messages to Ravish Kumar and Abhisar Sharma. However, there was no word on the abuse against Barkha Dutt and other women journalists.

In its statement issued on Friday, five days after Barkha shared the messages on Twitter, the Guild has urged the respective managements of social media platforms to exercise due caution and a sense of responsibility.

“Some of what is being allowed to pass clearly amounts to sexual abuse or instigation to violence. Corporations owning these platforms need reminding themselves that they must not allow unlawful behaviour. Business models thriving on hate of any kind are reprehensible,” the statement says, adding that there is no place for such social media abuse and threats of physical violence in a democracy. 

p>“The Guild urges the government to take necessary steps to bring abusers to book. Police cybercrime cells should address these complaints on priority. The relevant ministries and regulators should also ensure greater clarity on the laws to ensure accountability on the part of social media platforms. Laws on sexual harassment, intimidation and incitement to violence should be strictly enforced on those using social media and nobody should be allowed to hide behind anonymity,” the statement adds.

 

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