One profession that is under deep fear of attacks today is journalism. Journalists face abuse and threats regularly, both on social media and in real life. The latest journalist to face a death threat is consulting editor at Times of India, Sagarika Ghose. On June 23, a man, who allegedly works at ICICI Securities as a Senior Financial Advisor, threatened her on Facebook.
Karn Bir Singh shared an image from his Facebook account that mocked Ghose. Along with it, he wrote, “This is the journalist that should get shot. Not the likes of Bhukhari.”
He was talking about Kashmir’s noted journalist Shujaat Bukhari who was recently gunned down in Srinagar.
Ghose saw the post and did a Facebook search to find that Chaudhary works at a senior position. She took a screenshot of his profile and posted it on her Facebook profile along with a comment, “Another day, another demand that I be shot dead. This time from a financial advisor in ICICI bank! The bigotry and hate just increases every day”.
Speaking to SheThePeople.TV, she said, “I don’t understand that a person who works at a senior position at a reputed bank can put out a statement saying that this journalist should be shot. He is in a customer service industry, in a sector where your image is important so as a professional, who is proudly advertising his professional identity, so why should someone like him on his public page post a threatening comment? This is what is frightening to me because it is not as if he is doing it from an anonymous profile.”
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On how the instances of attacks on journalists have increased in the past few years, Ghose said, “Two have been killed. Frankly I feel very strongly for the reporter because the reporter is often all on their own in a place where there is nobody to defend them. I am talking about stringers as well. What happens to them and their families? We are unarmed journalists and we are simply bringing in news. Now because you don’t like the news why will you kill us?”
“I don’t understand that a person who works at a senior position at a reputed bank can put out a statement saying that this journalist should be shot. He is in a customer service industry, in a sector where your image is important so as a professional, who is proudly advertising his professional identity, so why should someone like him on his public page post a threatening comment. This is what is frightening to me because it is not as if he is doing it from an anonymous profile.”
“My problem is that this is a man who seems like an educated and sensible person and he is putting out this kind of post,” she added.
This is not the first time that Ghose has received a threat. A while ago, she received a gangrape threat. There have been others as well. She has filed three FIRs with the police against such threats but there has not been any concrete conclusion to them and so she feels that it is futile to file a complaint. “On the gangrape threat, the police couldn’t find the person, so they closed the case. On the death threat case, they said the cyber cell is still actively looking and they say that they are putting in all efforts. I mean they may be trying but it takes a lot of time.”
Talking about whether she is going to file a complaint against the latest threat, she said, “I have been asked to but I don’t know how many complaints I will file before somebody is caught. The fact that it is not really about me but the fact that journalists face these threats every day in the profession.”
In the recent past, there have been a couple of cases where people have targeted journalists for holding a certain viewpoint. It is disturbing to see that people now should feel scared for have a belief system. The fourth pillar of democracy is in danger with such bigotry becoming a norm.