Badin girl commits suicide over social media harassment

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BADIN: A girl in Sindh’s Badin district committed suicide by consuming poison. Her family revealed that she was being blackmailed on social media by a local boy and his friends over her edited pictures.

Reportedly, the suspects had also sent a picture to her fiancé, following which the engagement was called off. A letter – recovered by the deceased’s family – disclosed that the blackmailers had also received Rs50,000 from the girl.

Women, particularly in Pakistan, face frequent social media harassment and abuse. According to a report by the Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in May 2017, 40 percent of women in the country face various forms of harassment on the internet.

Pakistan has experienced a surge in social media usage with more than 40 million registered Facebook users. The rapid growth has sparked an online debate about misogyny and abuse of the platform.

In March last, a magistrate in Lahore had sentenced a man to six years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs0.7 million for harassing and blackmailing a woman online.

The convict was also ordered to pay Rs1 million in compensation to the victim.