INDIAN NEWS & TIMES

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

After the successful launch of News18 Network and Truecaller’s #ItsNotOk campaign in Delhi followed by a Townhall in Telangana, the nationwide initiative encouraging women to call out against harassment, driving advocacy around issues related to women safety and measures to build a safe and secure space reaches Odisha. The #CallItOut Odisha Townhall is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, 22nd June 2022.

Gaining support from several policymakers, law enforcers, activists, mental health experts, and influencers, the townhall aims to drive conversations and discussions empowering citizens to fight harassment and create awareness on cybersafety, existing tools, and resources to equip users to stay safe while navigating digital platforms. 

Lending strong support to the campaign, the #CallItOut Odisha Townhall will have a keynote address by Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha. Besides, Hon’ble Mr. Tusharkanti Behera, MoS – Home and Electronics & IT, Odisha, Ms. Basanti Hembram, MoS – Women & Child Development, Odisha, Mr. Pradeep Jena, IAS, Development Commissioner, Additional Chief Secretary, Odisha, Ms. Rekha Lohani, IPS, ADGP, Crime Against Women & Children Wing, Bhubaneswar, Dr. Amar Patnaik, National Spokesperson – BJD, Head of IT Wing, Odisha, Mr. Arun Bothra, IPS, ADGP, Criminal Investigation Department, Odisha, Dr. Rosalin Patasani Mishra – Founder, Parichay Foundation, Ms. Pragya Misra, Director of Public Affairs at Truecaller, Ms. Sukriti Patnaik, Entrepreneur, Ms. Anu Choudhury, Social Activist & Film Actor, Ms. Manasi Pradhan, Women Rights Activist & Author, Ms. Anuradha Biswal, Olympian Athlete, Ms. Niharika Dash, Social Media Influencer & Actor, Ms. Prakruti Mishra, Actor, and Ms. Sohini Mishra, Singer will grace the event amongst other eminent personalities. 

Various forms of harassment have emerged as technology and innovation continue to evolve the way we communicate, stay connected, and function. As a consequence, there has been a surge in cases of harassment thereby increasing the risk and vulnerability of users. Fostering a sense of security amongst people, the government of Odisha has taken several measures to enhance cybersecurity and build safer spaces for women. The townhall will see various stakeholders further elaborating on the benefits of existing laws, tools, infrastructure, and facilities, enabling people to fight back and report the harassment cases. 

The findings of a survey done by Truecaller show that while 85% of women who receive inappropriate and harassing calls block the numbers, only 12% report it to the authorities. Taking cognizance of the rising cases of harassment, the Odisha state government realized the importance of having a special mechanism to handle and control harassment or abuse over digital space. The state government introduced a dedicated Cyber Security Operation Centre and has 14 cybercrime and economic offense police stations. It has also implemented several cyber safety awareness drives from time to time to provide a safer environment for citizens.  

Solving the problems of cybersafety and prevention of harassment are complex issues that require collective efforts from all stakeholders. The discussions at the townhall aims to bring more awareness and highlight effective solutions to address these challenges together. Advocating this approach, the event will host engaging panel discussions on ‘Safety & Security of Women in Odisha’ and ‘Safety & Its Role in Economic Empowerment of Women’. Besides, the event will have influencers from the film, sports, social media, and music industries sharing examples of real-life incidents and tales of courage. Safety is an important and calculative aspect, women consider before making their decisions. The lack of adequate infrastructure in facilitating a safe and secure environment limits the economic opportunities and growth for women. Yet safety and access to opportunities which is a fundamental right remain limited to many, today, women are at the helm of various fields inspiring many to follow their passion and have ambitions in life. Fighting stereotypes and various odds, women are emerging heroes setting examples for the world. Safety has a bigger role in the economic empowerment of women as it enables them to be active participants, contribute to economic growth, and grow independently. It is imperative to advance our collective efforts in creating favorable conditions and safe spaces which will support the development and economic empowerment of women.