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3 in 5 journalists in India face work-related threats: Survey


New Delhi: About three in five journalists in India receive threats or pressure at some point of time, mostly through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter as well as private messaging app like WhatsApp, said a survey on Friday.

Of those who faced threats/harassment, 35 per cent believe that they were targeted because of the angle or the way a story was reported by them.

While 29 per cent of the overall respondents disclosed that they received threats once in a year, 19 per cent of the respondents received threats several times a month, showed the results of the survey conducted by Vision Foundation in association with the National Union of Journalists (India).

Out of those who were threatened, around 46 per cent respondents claimed that social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook were the medium, followed by 17 per cent respondents who were threatened via private messaging apps like WhatsApp/Message.

On the other hand, 76 per cent journalists said that either no safety protocol existed in their organisations or that they were not trained for safety issues.

At least four journalists were killed in India in 2019 due to work-related issues.

The "Threats to Safety of Journalists in India" survey involved 823 media professionals, out of which approximately 21 per cent were female.

The results suggest that journalists face physical, psychological and emotional risks because of many factors like sharp division of ideology among citizens, high voltage political situations, impunity for crime against journalists and ethical dimensions of journalism, among others.

Ensuring accuracy of news published (74 per cent), followed by reporting exclusive news (13%) and being the first one to publish news (11 per cent) seem to be the top three priorities of the media organisations in which the respondents work, the study revealed.

When asked about the biggest challenge faced by the journalism sector in the 21st century, 33 per cent pointed to increasing attacks on freedom of press, followed by 21 per cent respondents who felt that fake/paid news was the biggest challenge.

Social networking sites and influencers bypassing traditional media was cited as a challenge by 18 per cent respondents.

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