September 24, 2018
Statement on online harassment of a female journalist in Chennai
Female journalists are notoriously prone to online harassment and in forms that have become increasingly brazen and dangerous. The latest victim is Chennai-based independent journalist Sandhya Ravishankar, who is the convenor of the Tamil Nadu chapter of the Foundation for Media Professionals.
The CCTV footage of her meeting with a former DGP in a café has been leaked and published by a blogger as part of what seems to be an ongoing smear campaign. Though its visuals are not per se damaging, the publication of the video seems to be a clear violation of her privacy and it has appeared alongside a blog making defamatory remarks against Sandhya.
Over the last two years, she has been subjected to various kinds of intimidation because of her extensive investigative reportage on illegal beach sand mining, which has been rampant in Tamil Nadu allegedly in collusion with political leaders and police officers.
She lodged a complaint today with Chennai’s police commissioner alleging, on the basis of her inquiries, that some police personnel had procured the video footage from the café, thereby misusing the policy of mass surveillance for the benefit of vested interests.
This is the fifth complaint given by her to police authorities in two years on harassment by the mining mafia ranging from the publication of her phone number on social media leading to rape threats to disclosure to a magazine that five detective agencies had been hired to take her pictures.
The Foundation for Media Professionals calls upon the Tamil Nadu Government to take a serious view of the harassment of this investigative journalist and order a probe into the leakage of the CCTV footage and take action against all those responsible for this offence.
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, President
Manoj Mitta, Director