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“Stop Online Harassment of Haseena Shaik”: NWMI

“Stop Online Harassment of Haseena Shaik”: NWMI

Haseena Shaik. Photo courtesy: TV9 Telugu

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) strongly condemns the reprehensible online harassment and derogatory comments directed at Telugu television journalist Haseena Shaik via the social media platforms affiliated with a prominent political party in Andhra Pradesh.

Haseena, an Associate Editor at TV9 news for the past two decades, has been engaged in special programming for Sankranthi, a significant festival in Andhra Pradesh. As part of the planned coverage, she rode pillion on a bike driven by YSRCP minister Kodali Nani during a celebratory rally.

Following the broadcast on 14 January 2024, Haseena faced an onslaught of vulgar and abusive comments on social media, predominantly from supporters of the Telugu Desam Party, the main Opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, including some of the party’s official handles.

It is worth noting that reporters and camerapersons routinely use various vehicles for interviews or capturing visuals, including 2-wheelers, autorickshaws, cars, and helicopters. However, Haseena, being a woman, became the target of online harassment across multiple platforms.

The NWMI has consistently condemned online abuse and stood in solidarity with women journalists who have been harassed, abused and intimidated for their work. Despite complaints lodged with cyber-crime police and representations to the respective governments, no action has been taken against the perpetrators. The authorities’ silence only emboldens these virtual trolls who act with impunity, fostering a misogynist culture where verbal abuse and threats of physical and sexual harm go unchecked.

The NWMI stands in solidarity with Haseena Shaik and:

  • Denounces the systematic trolling of women journalists in India, and the two Telugu-speaking states in particular.
  • Calls for immediate and serious action against cyber trolls and bullies attempting to silence journalists.
  • Urges authorities to establish dedicated cells to monitor and curb such trolling activities. As responsible leaders, political parties should caution their social media cells and supporters against engaging in this type of harassment towards women journalists.
  • Calls upon all political parties, including the Telugu Desam Party, to issue public statements demonstrating respect for women journalists and denouncing misogynistic comments.

The Network of Women in Media, India
17 January 2024

© 2024 Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI).

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