Upset women journalists ask Chief Minister Jayalalitha to intervene in the case
By Team FI
An association of women journalists in India has written a letter to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalitha, calling her attention to the online harassment of a Chennai based woman journalist, Kavin Malar.
According to the letter issued by Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), Kavin Malar, a journalist with India Today, has been subjected to character assassination and abusive messages on Facebook for over a month by one Mr Kishore K Swamy. The letter states that Swamy, a self-proclaimed AIADMK supporter, is “repeatedly posting abusive messages on Facebook targeting Kavin Malar’s professional work, her personal character and wilfully attempting to malign her reputation in society as well as in the media.”
The letter alleges that the Chennai police has not taken any action on the complaint filed on May 13, 2013, beyond calling Kavin for an enquiry.Kavin told FeminsitsIndia that she suspects Swamy has chosen to target her primarily because she is a woman and also because she has written often on Dalit issues. According to Kavin, the abuse began soon after her visit to Marakkanam, a small town near Chennai to report on an incident of caste violence that took place in April this year. Soon after, Swamy began posting abusive comments against her on his Facebook wall. Swamy alleged that Kavin used a criminal’s vehicle to travel to Marakkanam and then went to a nearby luxurious bungalow to have sex and smoke cannabis.
“This man writes that I have connection with a criminal, whose name I have not even heard before. He accuses me of traveling to Marakkanam in this criminal’s car. Is India Today not capable of arranging a cab to its employee? He is writing almost daily about me in obscene language. These abuses are too personal and he is intruding into my personal life,” says Kavin.
Online harassment against women is on the rise in India. Earlier this year, in April, activist Kavita Krishnan was threatened with rape during a discussion on the anti-rape movement in India on an online chat forum organised by Rediff.com, a leading Indian news portal. In 2012, Meena Kandasamy, a young poet, was subjected to a violent hate campaign on Twitter which also called for her gang rape. This was in reaction to her supporting Dalit students at a beef eating festival in Hyderabad last year.