Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) condemns the online harassment campaign against a women journalist, ARY News Senior Reporter Sahrish Khokher. It is unacceptable that Khoker is facing harassment online on social media platforms. Khokher’s online harassment has led to physical threats against the reporter. We urge the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to follow up on Khokher’s complaint and urge relevant authorities to ensure that women in the media are able to work both offline and online safely.
ARY News Karachi Chief Reporter and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Finance Secretary Lala Asad Pathan told PPF that Khoker was facing physical and digital harassment.
Speaking to PPF, Khokher said that she had shared certain posts on her Facebook profile, after which she had started facing harassment online. She said that the perpetrators were defaming her and assassinating her character.
Khokher alleged that some journalists in Sukkur were practicing “yellow journalism.” Khokher had posted on her social media about two journalists against whom a case was registered. In her post, she said that the First Information Report (FIR) against them was based on personal issues and alleged that the journalists were trying to make it an issue related to their journalism.
Following this post, she faced online harassment. Khokher said she had filed a complaint with the FIA on July 3.
The online harassment against the journalist has led to physical threats against her. Khoker told PPF that on July 1, while returning from the ARY News office in Rohri, nine people had manhandled her and issued her life threats. She said that the perpetrators had asked her to dismiss her complaint with the FIA, as they were aware that she would submit a complaint, and to remove a post regarding the FIR against the journalists that she had shared on her social media.
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered by Khokher on July 1 at the Section C Police Station in Sukkur.
Speaking to PPF, Section C Police Station House Officer Saddar Din Luk said that police were investigating the case and trying their best to arrest the suspects.
Sukkur Press Club President Chaudhry Irshad strongly condemned the online violence against Khokher and said that the harassment could not be tolerated. Irshad said it was an individual’s right to express their thoughts on social media.
Sukkur Union of Journalists President Imdad Buzdar told PPF that for a couple of months, some journalists were involved in personal issues, and they were using their journalistic identity over personal issues. He said that Khokher had just posted her opinions on social media.
FIA Sukkur Deputy Director Amjad Abbasi told PPF that the cybercrime wing was investigating Khokher’s case and was trying to find out details of the identities who had commented on the post. He said that the process could take 60 days.
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