Condemning the ongoing online harassment of women journalists, in the wake of the Bulli Bai case, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) in a press statement released on Tuesday, 11 January, said, “most of these attacks are targeted at journalists who have been outspokenly critical of the current government and the ruling party”.
Further, referring to The Wire’s two-year-long investigation into the functioning of an app called Tek Fog, the guild stated that the investigation “laid bare an extensive and well funded network built around an app, Tek Fog, which steals unused WhatsApp accounts to send out toxic messages to targeted journalists”.
Demanding that the government take urgent steps to “break and dismantle this misogynistic and abusive digital eco-system”, the EGI added:
“The purpose of this deeply hurtful messages was to instill fear in them and prevent them from expressing themselves freely and go about their jobs.”
Speaking on the “online auction of Muslim women” by the two open source apps on the GitHub platform – the Bulli Bai app and the Sulli Deals app – the EGI insisted that though arrests have been made, there is need for “further investigation in order to ensure that all those behind such despicable acts, even beyond those arrested, are brought to justice”.
The EGI further added that thorough investigations should be carried out to identify and punish the culprits and entities behind the “abusive digital eco-system”.
Considering that "there may be involvement of influential people linked to the ruling party with the Tek Fog app", which allows its users to hijack the 'trending' section of Twitter as well as 'trend' on Facebook, by 'auto-retweeting' or 'auto-sharing' certain tweets and posts, the Guild has also demanded the Supreme Court to take cognisance of the matter and order a probe into it.