The Editors Guild of India on Friday urged the government to take strict action against those using social media to "abuse and intimidate" media and journalists, especially women, over their reportage and commentary in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Condemning "the recent tirade of abuse and intimidation" against the media and journalists, it also urged Twitter and other social media companies to exercise "due caution and a sense of responsibility".
The Editors' Guild noted that "much of" the abuse and intimidation against the media and journalists are being done through social media "especially Twitter", saying the corporations owning these platforms need reminding that they must not allow "unlawful behavior".
"Some of what is being allowed to pass clearly amounts to sexual abuse or instigation of violence. Business models thriving on hate of any kind are reprehensible," the Guild said.
Urging the government to take "necessary steps" to bring "the abusers" to book, the Editors' body said the cybercrime cells of the police should address such complaints "on priority".
"The relevant ministries and regulator should also ensure greater clarity on the laws to ensure accountability on the part of social media platforms," it said.
Laws on sexual harassment, intimidation and incitement to violence should be "strictly enforced" on those using social media to resort to such unlawful act.
"Nobody should be allowed to hide behind anonymity," the Guild said.
The Editors' body underlined that there is no place for social media abuse and threats of physical violence in a democracy.
"Differences of opinion should be respected and resolved through a robust but civil dialogue and debate," it said.