Editors Guild stresses the need to hold ‘unbiased inquiries into all reported cases’, says training and awareness necessary to prevent such incidents.
New Delhi: Taking cognisance of the raging #MeToo movement in the media, the Editors Guild of India has issued a statement condemning “all predatory conduct by such men”.
In the statement, it said, “The Editors Guild of India has noted with concern and dismay the incidence of alleged sexual harassment and assault on women journalists by their male colleagues. It unequivocally condemns all predatory conduct by such men.”
Editors Guild of India has issued a statement on the recent cases of alleged sexual harassment in the newsrooms. Please read the full text here: https://t.co/xrPM0vb2jK pic.twitter.com/vnKVzVWWik
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) October 9, 2018
Acknowledging the skewed power dynamic which enables the culture of harassment, the statement said, “It is worse when the perpetrators also happen to be enjoying senior or supervisory positions in the profession.”
Over the past few days, several women journalists have recounted on social media the sexual harassment, both overt and subtle, that they allegedly faced at the hands of powerful men, including former DNA editor Gautam Adhikari, former political editor of Hindustan Times Prashant Jha, union minister and former editor M.J. Akbar and Times Of India‘s Hyderabad resident editor K.R. Sreenivas.
“The Guild also expresses its gratitude and solidarity towards women journalists who have displayed the courage to bring these critical issues in public debate,” the Guild said, throwing its weight behind the scores of women who have come out to reveal their experiences on social media.
Also read: Women in Kashmir join #MeToo movement, accuse journalists & politician of abuse
“The Guild is also committed to ensuring that the legal rights of either the victims or the accused are not violated. A fair, just and safe working environment is essential if press freedoms are to flourish,” it said.
“The newsroom in our profession is a relatively informal, free-spirited and hallowed space. It must be protected.
“The Guild extends its total support to all women journalists, who suffered a disadvantage in their careers, physical or mental trauma, as a result of any sexual predation,” the statement further said.
Stressing the need to hold “unbiased inquiries into all reported cases”, the Guild said: “This is the time for all of us to strengthen our internal processes. It includes training of staff and improving awareness, as mandated by the law and even beyond.”
Anybody found guilty of sexual harassment or assault should be punished as provided in the law, it said.
“The newsroom is the most inclusive work space in terms of gender. It is our responsibility as media leaders to ensure that it remains safe and fair for all, especially women,” the statement read.
Also read: Here’s why the Right-wing is so muted about India’s raging #MeToo movement
Praiseworthy. For the future, it is corporate managements that increasingly own Indian media and the upper crust of the one hundred or so senior professionals who between them should share responsibility for creating physically and emotionally safe work spaces for young women journalists starting their careers. 2. Although not related directly to Me Too, there is also a need for the media to circle its wagons and keep safe journalists who face threats, including to their lives, for simply doing their jobs with diligence and integrity.
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