Swedish embassy cancels event involving abusive journalist after social media protests

On Sunday, many people on Twitter expressed anger and disappointment with Embassy of Sweden in India and Maneka Gandhi, the Union Cabinet Minister for Women and Child Development, for organising and attending an event respectively that linked “Press Freedom” with “Online Trolling”.

Following is the poster of the event that attracted this anger:

There were two main reasons why people were angry:

  1. Journalists, especially in India, often try to curb criticism by labeling anyone who disagrees with them as “troll” and this event was seen as giving legitimacy to that view by linking “press freedom” to “trolling”.
  2. One of the guests invited – a person named Swati Chaturvedi – is an abusive writer known for targeting BJP leaders and supporters through her fictitious writing. Presence of a BJP minister with such a person raised eyebrows.
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Presence of Barkha Dutt, another controversial journalist alleged to be anti-BJP, was also one of the reasons some BJP supporters wanted Maneka Gandhi to not attend this event. People didn’t hide their anger against Maneka Gandhi and the BJP for gracing such an event:

Some users also called for the sacking of Maneka Gandhi by using the #sackmaneka hashtag:

Although many people thought that this was another Twitter outrage that will die down with time, earlier today it was revealed that the Embassy of Sweden had cancelled the event:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsOpIndia.com called up the Embassy of Sweden and we were informed that the event indeed has been called off. When we asked for official reason, we were told that there were “conflicts of schedule”.

However, the embassy confirmed that the event has been cancelled and not postponed. “An event on similar lines might be organised in future, but as of now, this event is cancelled,” an embassy official confirmed.

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