Digital Dialogues: India’s journalists aren’t safe online. Here’s why

Conversations at a day-long exploration of India’s digital ecosystem, organised by Digipub.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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“I am not worried about journalists like me,” said independent journalist Hridayesh Joshi. “I am worried about those journalists who are away from power centres.”

Hridayesh was moderating the session “Navigating Digital Privacy for Journalists” at Digital Dialogues, a day-long exploration of India’s digital ecosystem. Organised by Digipub, the session’s panellists were independent content creator Meghnad S, The Mooknayak founder Meena Kotwal, The Quint cofounder Ritu Kapur, and Maktoob Media cofounder Aslah Kayyalakkath.

On the new broadcasting bill, Ritu said it’s being introduced “in an environment where someone can be arrested for a joke they may have cracked”.

“The world wouldn’t have known about George Floyd if it wasn’t for a citizen journalist who reported it,” she said. “The very citizens of India will now have to be wary of what they talk about.”

Aslah described how he had been summoned by the Kerala police last month over a report by a freelancer that was published on his website. “They interrogated me for five hours and they had screenshots of my social media posts since 2014, when I started Maktoob. They said they wanted to check every piece of my digital presence from 2014.”

Meena added, “It has become easier to target anyone if a bill like this is passed...We can see how politicians provide misinformation and they face no repercussions. But even if we disseminate the right information, our work still becomes a target.”

Watch.

Text by Aarshi Rai.

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