India: IJU Concerned Over Trolling of Tongam Rina23 Apr, 2020
Expressing profound concern over the trolling of Tongam Rina, Associate Editor of The Arunachal Times, the Indian Journalists Union joins its colleagues in Arunachal Pradesh in demanding legal action against online abusers at the earliest, following filing of an FIR with the Crime Branch today.
Rina, who has been seeking justice for the past eight years in a case of attempt to murder, when she was shot at in front of her office in 2012, is now being trolled for an article she wrote on the alleged rise in cases of wildlife hunting in the State during the lockdown. The article followed three video clips circulating on WhatsApp, in two of which, a man claims to have hunted a cobra because he couldn’t find any meat since the lockdown.
While the videos went viral and were sensationalised by two national TV channels, maligning the community, Rina’s article on April 18 had merely reported that state Forest Department had identified the three men in the video and were looking out for them for violating the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Nowhere in the news report were any allegations made or any accusation of wrongdoing apart from what the men in the videos had claimed to have done. However, she has been subjected to plethora of online abuse, hatred campaign and even threatened with physical violence on several posts.
In a statement IJU President Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General Sabina Inderjit expressing solidarity with Rina, said such trolling is unacceptable in any civilised society and that it joins its affiliate the Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) along with Arunachal Press Club (APC) and Arunachal Electronic & Digital Media Association (AEDMA) in condemning the online abuse. More so, as the inflammatory headlines given by TV news channels, and not her article, would further ignite racist comments against students living outside the State, as the posts suggest.
Rina has filed an FIR under 506/509 IPC, reference with Section 67 of IT Act and Section 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act with the SP SIT. The IJU demands that the hate mongers be arrested and put behind bars, to set an example that gender-based trolling would not be tolerated, and that attempts to silence a journalist, who has been at the forefront defending human and animal rights during her entire career, must be quelled.