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Journalists' Body Urges Facebook's Ankhi Das to Withdraw Complaint Against Chhattisgarh Scribe

Facebook policy director Das's complaint says that among others' posts intended to harass her in the aftermath of the 'WSJ' report alleging her bias to BJP, was journalist Awesh Tiwari's.

New Delhi: The Committee to Protect Journalists has asked Facebook’s regional public policy director Ankhi Das — in the eye of the storm since a Wall Street Journal article alleged that she had attempted to shield the BJP from Facebook’s hate speech rules — to withdraw her criminal complaint against a journalist.

In her August 16 complaint to Delhi police, Das had said that individuals online had “intentionally vilified” her due to their political affiliations and were engaging in abuse.

“I am extremely disturbed by the relentless harassment meted out to me,” Das had said in her police complaint.

According to a report on Newslaundry, Das named Himanshu Deshmukh, Awesh Tiwari, Anamika Singh, Travis Bikal, and the Twitter user @justanalysis as the accused.

Of them, Awesh Tiwari is the only journalist. Tiwari is Chhattisgarh state bureau chief of news channel Swarajya Express and often posts commentary on his social media profiles, notes CPJ.

Also read: Facebook Employees Internally Question Policy Over Ankhi Das Controversy in India

Das has reportedly cited a comment made by a Facebook user to Tiwari’s post, which was a reaction to the WSJ article. The comment has since been removed.

In her complaint to the police, Das has asked for an FIR to be registered and for investigation to be opened against Tiwari for “sexual harassment, defamation, and criminal intimidation.”

“If charged and convicted, Tiwari could face fines as well as up to two years in prison for sexual harassment, up to two years for defamation, and up to seven years in prison for criminal intimidation, according to the Indian Penal Code,” CPJ notes.

Tiwari has told CPJ that he finds the allegation that his post was threatening ‘ridiculous’ because as a journalist, he made a post out of WSJ‘s report.

Tiwari has, meanwhile, received 11 calls from unknown phone numbers threatening him with imprisonment, lawsuits, and physical harm. He has filed a counter complaint with Raipur police, accusing Das of criminal intimidation.