Facebook 'blocks' website inspired by slain journalist Gauri Lankesh

Facebook has disallowed sharing of the links to the news articles from the site

Gauri Lankesh banner (File) A banner with the image of slain journalist Gauri Lankesh | Reuters

Facebook has blocked articles from naanugauri.com, a Kannada news website launched in memory of slain activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh since Thursday, on the grounds the link "violates its community standards".

Members of the Gauri Memorial Trust, which runs the website, have condemned Facebook, alleging it has blocked the website’s articles without giving valid reasons.

Facebook has also disallowed sharing of the links to the news articles published on the website and hidden all links previously posted on the platform.

"This is a dark day. We condemn the act of FB as they have given no reason for it but keep throwing a message that the link goes against their community standards. We tried to communicate to the FB that naanugauri is a respected website and we adhere to all the FB rules and also journalistic ethics," said the statement released by the website.

"Many reputed scholars, academics, activists, journalists and writers from across India, HS Doreswamy, Devanuru Mahadeva, Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, A. Narayana, Amit Basule, have contributed to naanugauri. This establishes the trustworthiness of the website beyond doubt," noted the website, suspecting that some far-rightwing activists could have played foul.

"With growing polarisation across the country, some people associated with far-rightwing politics having malicious intent might have campaigned against us and reported our links to FB. But we had hoped FB would have some basic system to verify such false campaigns against only few trustworthy media houses like ours that remain in the country today. We urge FB to unblock us and allow sharing of our URL to help establish mutual cooperation to build ethical journalism," urged the website.

After Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her Bengaluru residence on September 5, 2017, her friends decided to relaunch her weekly tabloid (Gauri Lankesh Patrike). But they were forced to relaunch it as Nyaya Patha owing to ownership issues with the Lankesh family. The trust could not launch the online version of the tabloid as Naanu Gauri too as the Registrars of Newspapers for India rejected the title. Finally, the Naanu Gauri website was launched as a daily news portal in April 2018.