Women journalists under threat | Pakistan Today

Women journalists under threat

  • The ruling party is part of the toxic culture that allows this

A statement by women journalists from various media, so far signed by 16, has appealed to the government seeking protection from those who are making vicious attacks on them on social media. There are a number of disturbing things about this, the first being that the women journalists complain that they are being attacked by members of the ruling PTI. This gives the Prime Minister a double responsibility to bring this to an end; firstly as the head of government who is supposed to ensure that all citizens are protected by the government; and secondly as the head of the party whose members are engaged in the attacks. His responsibility is redoubled by the reason for the attacks: the coverage of the government’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic. It should be noted that the women journalists first complained about this last month, and thus the government has had more than enough time to stop this attack.

Women are more vulnerable in our society to such attacks, because of a toxic culture condoning them. The FIA’s Cybercrime Wing should have been activated  by now, though it is a separate issue that that Wing has not been examined to root out anyone there who might be guilty of perpetuating that wink-wink, nudge-nudge kind of tolerance that means the investigating officer tries to fudge the investigation in ways that benefits the accused.

Women journalists have at least as hard a time as their male counterparts, and on top suffer the social pressures of a lack of acceptance. But this misuse of social media has only arisen under the present government. It gives rise to the suspicion that the ruling party itself is pervaded by the general misogyny which is so common in our society, and which prevents women from taking their rightful place in public life. The government must counter this impression by taking strict action, and ensuring that this particular piece of villainy cannot be laid at its door.