The Committee to Protect Journalists has for Indian authorities to conduct a “swift and thorough investigation” into the threats made to Indian journalist Rana Ayyub. This comes after the journalist received multiple rape and death threats on Twitter for a in which she criticised the Saudi Arabia government’s role in the ongoing war in Yemen and her in the Washington Post criticising the BJP.
Social media users who support the Saudi government and BJP started sending her threats causing her to trend on Twitter on January 25. The journalist even tweeted about how she had received more than 26,000 tweets with threats of violence.
26.4 thousand tweets, most are abusive, rape and death threats, calling me a terror sympathiser. Most tweets are by the Indian right wing & Saudi nationalists who are attacking me after i posted a tweet in solidarity with Yemen and calling out the Saudis. Hello @TwitterIndiapic.twitter.com/Cd1880betW
Commenting on the online harassment Ayyub has faced, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator in Washington D C, Steven Butler said, “No journalist should have to suffer the intense online harassment and threats repeatedly directed against Rana Ayyub...Indian authorities must take action against anyone who has threatened violence against Ayyub and ensure her safety.”
The CPJ report also mentioned news website Scoop Beats claiming that it published a video with a doctored image of a tweet purportedly by Ayyub, which said, “I hate India and I hate Indians.” Ayyub had also tweeted about it on January 26, calling for action against the women in the video.
Scoop Beats later took the video down, but Ayyub said that threats towards her increased. According to CPJ, the journalist has filed a complaint with Mumbai Police against the portalfor “spreading false information about her and inciting threats”.
CPJ also took note of how Ayyub had recently also been targeted by the Bulli Bai app which targeted various Muslim women and held fake “auctions” using their pictures, and the Tek Fog app which was used for targeted social media trolling of those critical of the BJP.