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Minister Asad Umar Justifies Online Abuse Against Women Journalists With Whataboutism

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A day after women journalists called upon the government to take action against the perpetrators of hate speech who belong to the ranks of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar responded that ‘labelling those who call out your [women journalists’] fake news as abusers is wrong’.

In a tweet, the federal minister tried to defend the hate speech against these journalists who had come forward with allegations that they had been a target of the trolls for criticising the policies of the government.

“Using abusive language against anyone…. Man or woman is wrong. Period. Spreading fake news is wrong. Period. Labelling those who call out your fake news as abusers is wrong. Period. All these three things are happening. All three should be condemned,” he added.

On Wednesday, Pakistani women journalists called upon the PTI government to hold accountable the perpetrators of vicious hate attacks directed at them through social media.

In a statement issued by a 16-strong group of journalists, they had said: “The target of these attacks are women with differing viewpoints and those whose reports have been critical of the PTI government and more specifically its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.”

The statement had said that the online attacks were instigated by government officials and then amplified by a large number of Twitter accounts, ‘which declare their affiliation to the ruling party’.

 

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Naya Daur