Resignations Follow After Several Women Name & Shame Senior Journalists Of Sexual Harassment

The Logical Indian Crew India

October 12th, 2018 / 5:43 PM

MeToo Movement

Image Credit: The Indian Express

The Me Too movement that started a year back from the USA has now reached India and in the past week. Women from all around the country are now mustering up the courage to come and speak about the harassment they have faced in the hands of men at senior positions in Media Industry. Many renowned publications have come under the scanner; The Times Of India, Hindustan Times and digital platform like The Quint are among them.


Media in #MeToo clutches

After the Tanushree Dutta’s allegations against actor Nana Patekar for sexually harassing her, many more cases of sexual harassment started surfacing against the men in the two most powerful industries in India: News Media and Entertainment. On October 8, Chief of Bureau and senior political editor of the national daily, Hindustan Times, Prashant Jha stepped down from his position following the allegations of sexual harassment against him. The allegations surfaced on social media where a woman posted the screenshots of the conversations between them, as reported by The News Minute.


Source: The News Minute

Source: The News Minute

Source: The News Minute

She further clarified that at the time of the incident she had left the company and thus she could not file a sexual harassment case with the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The Logical Indian spoke to a source at the Hindustan Times who on the conditions of anonymity told us that Prashant has steep down from the managerial post but is serving as a reporter. The source also told us that he would also be subjected to ICC for further investigations in the case. The Logical Indian also tried reaching to the Delhi Hindustan Times Bureau. However, the attempt to get a response failed.


Repeat offender

The Me Too movement opened the floodgates of several harassment cases, and its snowballing effect was seen at another national daily, The Times Of India. On October 9, The Time Of India’s Hyderabad resident editor, K.R. Sreenivas was sent on an “administrative leave”, following the allegations of sexual misconduct by several women journalist. The first accusation against him surfaced on social media by journalist Sandhya Menon, who alleged that Sreenivas had harassed her at the time when the two were working at Bangalore Mirror in 2007. In a Twitter thread, she claimed that back then Sreenivas, one night dropped her home. She says that when the two were chatting in her house, Sreenivas laid his hand on her thigh and went on, to say “my wife and I have grown apart. She doesn’t understand me.”


She later filed a case in the ICC where she alleged that her complaint did not receive a proper response.  As the woman who headed the ICC then told her that, “She knew Sreeni (Sreenivas) for a long time” and that it was unlikely that he would do something like that. However, soon after her revelation many other women also alleged that Sreenivas had harassed them by unwanted touching, sending explicit messages and sexual propositions.

One such allegation was posted by a former journalist, who then used to work as an intern with the Bengaluru edition of Femina of the Times group. She alleged that once when she bumped into Sreenivas in her neighbourhood, he said to her, “Why don’t you come over sometime. My wife is not in town.”



While responding to these allegations, Sreenivas told the Firstpost that a “highly empowered and accessible committee” under the law is set up to look into the sexual harassment allegations. He also said that he would “submit” himself to the ICC investigation.


Silence is not consent

The freelancer journalist Sandhya Menon also accused another senior journalist and the founding editor of DNA, Gautam Adhikari for sexual harassment. In a Twitter thread, she said that Adhikari forcefully kissed her and also warned her not to disclose it to anyone.


Source: Firstpost

Following her allegation, on October 6, Sonora Jha a professor of Journalism at Seattle University also levied charges of sexual harassment against Adhikari. She recounted the incident on Twitter that took place in 1995. She claims that Adhikari harassed her in a hotel room.



However, Adhikari has denied all the allegation. Speaking about Menon’s assertion he said, that he has no recollection of any such incident. “I remember Ms Menon as a colleague who I always treated in a fair and polite manner. I retired from the media industry a long time ago though I still write occasionally and I have always treated my former colleagues politely. I am sorry if at any time I appeared to have been impolite though I don’t recall such occasions.”

Responding to Jha’s allegations, Adhikari said, he recalls neither the incident nor the person involved in it. He said that he last visited Bangalore when he was in India, which is more than 20 years ago; in the mid-1990s. He also says that he does not recall meeting her and he further denied the allegation.

However, while describing his past relationships with other women he said, “I also would like to clarify that in the distant past I may have greeted women occasionally with a hug or a kiss. But I realised soon enough that it could be misunderstood in different cultural conditions and stopped the habit. There was never any question of harassment on my part,” Adhikari added.

Amidst all the allegations revolving around Adhikari, he on October 9, resigned as a senior member of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think tank. He cited “ stain on his reputation,” as a reason for his resignation.

The Logical Indian spoke to Journalist Sandhya Menon about the overwhelming response the Me Too movement has received in just a week. She said, “I am not surprised at the response of women coming forward. Every woman professional knows many many stories of her own and others. So, no. My only surprise comes in the form of knowing how every single woman has not complained because of the exact same reasons.”

While talking about the expectations from the movement, she said, “Expectations are clear: strong and solid tightening of sexual harassment policies in accordance with the law. Swift action by employers.”

She also said that many men say they don’t know what the boundaries are. But, now with this movement, many women have come up explaining what they felt uncomfortable with. So now the men can understand what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.


Several other allegations

After Menon’s revelation, other women journalists also outed many powerful men in the industry by naming them in the “hall of shame” list. On October 6, a woman journalist claimed that the founder and editor of, The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah had harassed her. She posted her allegation on her twitter handle stating that Fahad has molested her along with her friend. She said, “Fahad Shah is my molester too.” She further added, “I have kept quiet for long, but now is the time to tell my story.”



The Logical Indian tried reaching out to Shah to get his clarification on the allegations. However, he did not reply to our emails.


Many more to come

On October 8, Business Standard’s principal correspondent, Journalist Mayank Jain stepped down from his position following the allegation of sexual harassment against him. The allegations surfaced on Twitter by a journalist Anoo Bhuwan followed by other allegations.


Business Standard editor Shyamal Majumdar confirmed Jain’s resignation and also mentioned that an inquiry will take place in the case, as reported by the Firstpost.

In another anonymous post, a woman journalist also levied allegations against famous writer and columnist, Kiran Nagarkar. The woman alleged that he had tried to touch the woman inappropriately. The woman alleged that Nagarkar during an interview in his hotel room tried to get close to her and also forcefully hugged her.

Soon after the first allegations against him, at least two more women spoke up stating that Nagarkar has made them feel uncomfortable. However, Nagarkar has denied all allegations saying, “I have my integrity,” he added, “I am capable of no such thing,” as reported by NDTV.

The allegation against these male journalist has not been restricted only to print media. There have been many allegations against journalists working in digital and broadcast media as well. While some of the respondents declined the allegation, others came up with guilt and apology. In another such incident, a serious journalist at The Quint, Meghnad Bose was accused of sexual misconduct by two journalists. In one of the allegations, the woman had claimed that Bose touched her inappropriately at the time when the two were studying at a journalism college, Asian College Of Journalism in Chennai, in 2015, reported The Quint.


Metoo Movement


In another separate incident, a woman alleged that Bose tried to violate her consent while they were at his home a year and a half ago.


Metoo Movement


 


However, Bose came out and apologised for his behaviour. He posted a statement on Facebook saying, “I am Sorry for that night.”


Metoo Movement


The Logical Indian Take

Since the time Tanushree Dutta spoke about her facing harassment, many more women are “coming clean” about their story of sexual and physical abuse and “casual” inappropriate behaviour by men. The allegations of harassment came up on social media after being repressed for long. The outburst came in the form of wrath and rebellion. These and many more stories that are yet to come up, as Sandhya Menon correctly said, “every woman as one or more stories” of such abuse.


Also Read: #MeToo In India: Journalists Calls Out Predatory Behaviour In Media; Name & Shame Alleged Sexual Harassers


Contributors

Written by : Ridhima Gupta

Edited by : Shraddha Goled

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