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Archives for : March2017

Stop Online Harassment of Chennai Journalist Sandhya Ravishankar: NWMI #Vaw

The Network of Women in Media, India condemns the harassment of Chennai-based independent journalist Sandhya Ravishankar following her expose on the illegal beach sand mining mafia in Tamil Nadu operating with political collusion.

The publication of her four-part series in The Wire in January appears to have triggered a spate of abusive calls and threats of violence on Twitter and Facebook by supporters of S Vaikundarajan, founder chairman of VV Mineral, the country’s largest miner and exporter of rare earth minerals, who features in Ravishankar’s investigative articles.

Ravishankar’s complaint to the Press Council of India, says, “I have been harassed online with trolls on social media using foul language against me, calling me a ‘corrupt’ journalist, a ‘fake’ journalist etc.” She states that her mobile number was published on Twitter and Facebook by anonymous trolls supporting S Vaikundarajan and she began receiving a flood of abusive and threatening calls with unknown people threatening to put chilli powder inside her private parts and threatening to beat her up. Online blogs have also come up in both Tamil and English that target Ravishankar.

In an open letter to Ravishankar on company letterhead, VV Minerals has threatened to soon file a defamation case against her. “We have filed criminal complaint cc37/2016 with judicial magistrate, Tirunelveli and you have been served it too,” the letter reads.

Such intimidation to silence an independent journalist who has exposed the illegal mining-political nexus does not bode well for freedom of the press and truth-telling in the public interest. Ravishankar is not the first journalist who has been threatened by those who control sand-mining – one of the most powerful lobbies in the state. Other network members have earlier reported their own experiences and those of their colleagues.

The NWMI demands that the police take immediate action on Ravishankar’s complaint with the Chennai city police as well as the cyber wing. The perpetrators of harassment and intimidation must be brought to book. Only when the authorities ensure that journalists can fulfil their duty to inform the public unhindered by threats and pressure can we hope to create an atmosphere of genuine freedom of expression.

NWMI stands by Sandhya Ravishankar and all journalists who have been harassed and intimidated by those in power.

The Network of Women in Media, India

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#Goodnews – Posco confirms scrapping Odisha project, acquired land for POSCO project under IDCO land bank

Posco’s letter is seen as the first official communication marking the scrapping of the project

rural, village, women, posco

The land acquisition was inordinately delayed due to agitation by the locals, which often took a violent turn
It’s official now that South Korean major has scrapped the plan to set up a 12-million tonne (mt) mill in Paradip, It has written to the state that it wants to surrender the allotted for the project.

It is the second big-ticket foreign direct investment (FDI) project to leave Odisha, after walked out of its project in 2013.

“We have received a letter from expressing its intention to surrender the land”, an official of the state industries department said.

Though all activity on the plant came to a halt two years ago, leading to speculations of the firm pulling out of the venture, both and the had denied it. Therefore, Posco’s letter is seen as the first official communication marking the scrapping of the project. had signed an agreement with the state in June, 2005, seeking 4,004 acres of to set up the project. The acquisition was delayed due to agitation by the locals, which often took a violent turn.

Finally, the could acquire 2,700 acres in 2013 for the firm to set up an 8-mt mill in the first phase. Of this, the managed to transfer 1,700 acres to

But before the work could start, the central amendment in the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act in January, 2015 sealed the fate of the project. The amended Act made it mandatory for to go through the auction route to get captive mines, dashing its hopes of getting an iron ore mine on a preferential basis according to the agreement. To make matters worse, the did not renew the tenure of the agreement, which expired in 2016.

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