‘Gauri Lankesh in the Making’: Twitter User Issues Death Threat to Journalist Swati Chaturvedi
Chaturvedi, who won RSF’s Press Freedom Award for Courage earlier this month, said that “the ultimate censorship is the death threat”.
A Twitter User issued a death threat to senior Journalist Swati Chaturvedi on Wednesday, November 21. The handle ‘@Mitra_Cariappa’, which has ‘A Proud Hindustani’ in its bio, tweeted to Chaturvedi saying, “one more Gauri Lankesh in the making”. The user, however, deleted the tweet immediately after Chaturvedi quoted it and asked, “Is that a threat anon?”
Is that a threat anon? https://t.co/5Y8TODQFOe
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) November 21, 2018
A screenshot ensured that there was a record of the threat.
Here is screenshot of deleted threat ???? pic.twitter.com/hEf14FY9wM
— Shivraj (@Shivraj44315223) November 21, 2018
Speaking to NewsCentral24x7, Chaturvedi said that death threats to journalists had become a norm in the country. “This has become a norm unfortunately. That account is still up, I’ve tagged Delhi Police, they have not reached out to me, the guy (user who issued the threat) openly threatened.. ‘Gauri Lankesh in the making,” she said, adding that there had been no response from Twitter either.
When asked if the threat had worried her into taking precautions, she said “What precautions am I going to take? I don’t have any security, I am just doing my job.”
Chaturvedi, who won the Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Award for Courage earlier this month, also said that journalists in the country are routinely attacked and that death threats are a way to silence them. “Under the BJP government, in today’s society, the ultimate censorship is the death threat,” she said.
This is not the first time that Chaturvedi has been on the receiving end of such chilling messages on the social media platform. In her 2016 book, I am a Troll she has detailed how the Bharatiya Janata Party uses online trolls to spread vitriol on social media platforms, and especially, on Twitter.
On September 5, 2017, veteran journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead at her residence in Bengaluru. Almost a year after her death, the Special Investigative Team (SIT) arrested 26-year-old Parshuram Waghmare in Vijaypura, North Karnataka. Waghmare confessed to the crime. Lankesh’s assassination sparked nation-wide protests and raised questions about the safety of journalists and freedom of the press in India.