IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Cyber bullying must stop

3rd August, 2020 Internal Security


  • Frequent cases of cyberbully engaging in character assassination of women journalists like telling brazen lies, making sexual innuendos, cyber stalking and posting obscenities.
  • Failure of the government to give confidence and courage to women journalists that it would shield them from cyberbullying.


Reason to defend rights:

Among the various reasons to defend the rights of women journalists to have a good working environment that is free from toxic personal attacks, the most important is newsroom diversity.

The presence of women journalists in newsrooms was low even in the first decade after India liberalised its economy in 1991. Only in this millennium has the composition of newsrooms become more inclusive.


Disturbing trend

  • In June 2019, UNESCO organised a symposium, “Standing Up against online harassment of women journalists — What works?”
  • UNESCO recorded the fact that women journalists face ever-increasing amounts of gender-based threats and attacks, simply for being women.
  • UNESCO has input for the symposium read: “While the Internet is a valuable tool for journalists to acquire and disseminate information, it is also increasingly being utilized by sexist abusers to commit violence on an unprecedented scale. Insults, public shaming, intimidation, hacking and cyber-stalking are but a few of the types of behavior that women journalists are systematically confronted with on the Internet. Faced with the growing ubiquity of online harassment, some women journalists are forced to restrict the scope of issues they report on in order to protect themselves.”
  • Researchers who have been studying journalists’ safety agree that online stalking has profound emotional and physical consequences for women journalists — many women experience long-lasting fear, anxiety and trauma.
  • While studies since 2012 have been showing a disturbing trend of growing gender-based cyberbullying, the governments and courts have done little to address this malady.
  • Women journalist groups have been trying to reach out not only to governments but also to large platform conglomerates like Twitter and Facebook to come up with gender-sensitive algorithms.