NEW DELHI, 25 Nov: Observing the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Tuesday, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) urged the Modi government to “ratify the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of work at the earliest.”
On 10 June, 2019, the ILO passed the convention as well as Recommendation 206. Both, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), of which the IJU is a member, can bring about change in female journalists’ lives by outlawing violence in the world of work. According to IFJ statistics, almost 65 percent of women media workers have experienced intimidation, threats or abuse in relation to their work, either offline or online.
“These attacks have had chilling effects on freedom of expression, leading women journalists to self-censor and affecting their wellbeing and private life. They also have devastating consequences on pluralism and the public’s right to know, with many stories not being told by women for fear of being attacked or killed,” says the IFJ.
In a statement, IJU President Geetartha Pathak and Secretary-General Sabina Inderjit said there is an urgency, particularly to fight against online harassment.
“While the digital age offers a new world of opportunities, it
offshoots a grave danger for women journalists, wherein online abuse is increasingly being used to harass, intimidate and silence the outspoken voices in the country. And though there are umpteen numbers of cases of attacks offline in the form of physical violence, legal cases and even killings, the country is witnessing orchestrated troll armies swarming their targets, largely women journalists,” they said.
The IJU said “it is well known that the form of trolling is largely sexist and misogynistic on social media, adding a new and dangerous dimension to the form of violence and harassment in the world of work being faced by women journalists. This is unacceptable in any civilized society and must be brought an end to.”
“The government must take responsibility and expedite the ratification of the convention,” it said.