Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) condemns the online trolling campaign against woman journalist Javeria Siddique. Siddique is the wife of the late journalist Arshad Sharif, who was killed in Kenya on October 24, 2022.
Such a campaign reflects the gendered nature of attacks that women journalists in Pakistan are subjected to online, often based on personal attacks and character assassination. We urge the cybercrime wing to ensure an investigation is conducted and harassment against Siddique is stopped.
Speaking to PPF, Siddique said that after her husband was murdered, she resumed work as a freelance journalist from home in January. Sharing her ordeal, she said that since last week, a campaign had been started against her, and her character was being assassinated online.
“I did not write anything controversial against any institution. Despite this, I am facing online harassment,” she added.
Siddique said she had launched a complaint with the Cybercrime Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency, which had contracted her for further investigation. She said that after the legal framework is complete, they will inform her about the process or next steps.
In a tweet on February 8, Siddique shared: “My husband was killed with a bullet. I will be killed through character assassination.”
According to The Coalition For Women in Journalism, which sounded the alarm regarding the abuse Siddique was facing, the “pro-government viral smear campaign” accused Siddique of remarriage to Pakistan Tehreek I Insaf leader and former Sindh Governor Imran Ismail.
Ismail has also denied and condemned the campaign.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) General Secretary Rana Azeem condemned the campaign and said he would take the matter to the Islamabad High Court.