We stand with Rana Ayyub
Free Press Unlimited stands in solidarity with Rana Ayyub, renowned Indian investigative journalist and winner of Free Press Unlimited's Most Resilient Journalist Award in 2018.
Rana Ayyub has been facing severe online harassment since 2018. However, in the past months, the harassment escalated rapidly, with a record amount of 26,000 tweets on a single day on January 26th 2022, many of which included rape and death threats. Most of the attacks came from social media users who posted messages in support of the Saudi government and the governing BJP party in India, both of which Ayyub has been critical of in her recent reporting.
These persistent and coordinated online harassment and attacks seriously affect Ayyub’s right to be able to report freely and safely. Such harassment not only has severe psychosocial effects, but can spill over and lead to physical violence. Last week, on February 10th a man was even arrested because of the death threats he sent to Ayyub. This is an encouraging step in the midst of a wave of extremist nationalism in India that these threats are taken seriously. We expect for all the threats to be examined thoroughly by authorities and to be acted upon appropriately.
We call on the Indian authorities to ensure that those responsible for the orchestrated and continuous online harassment are prosecuted.