Journalists bodies condemn Tejpal, demand probe, prosecution
The sexual assault of a young woman journalist of his magazine by Tehlka editor Tarun Tejpal received sharp reaction from journalists’ bodies both in India and abroad demanding complete investigation and prosecution. In a statement, Editors’ Guild of India President N Ravi said allegations of sexual assault on the face of it is shocking and shameful. “Such incidents anywhere are condemnable in the strongest terms but the Guild is particularly saddened that they should engulf a media organisation. It is emphatically the philosophy of the Guild that the media, that is the business of holding public persons accountable, should itself be held to the highest standards of conduct and decency,” he said in the statement.
The National Union of Journalists (India) also strongly condemned the sexual assault and said the step down by Tejpal for a period of six months is no punishment for the crime that he has committed. “This act of Tejpal is a shame on the name of Indian journalism, which has many shortcomings but making the work place unsafe for women was not supposed to be one of them,” NUJ (I) president Prasanna Mohanty said in a statement. He demanded a quick and impartial inquiry into the entire range of circumstances leading to the victim journalist colleague.
The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) president SN Sinha were greatly disappointed with the magazine’s response and in particular with its Managing editor, Ms Shoma Chaudhury whose attitude thus far seems more to protect her Editor and Publication than help the young victim. The IJU condemned the boorish behaviour of Tejpal in taking advantage of his superior position in the organisation.
Delhi Union of Journalists said: “It is high time that media organisations take this problem seriously, devise preventive strategies, create redressal mechanisms and foster a non-sexist culture at the workplace. The message must go out loud and clear to all employees, including managers, editors and others in authority, that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.”
Meanwhile the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the international body representing more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries also joined its Indian affiliates in India calling for a ‘no tolerance’ stance on sexual violence and harassment of female media workers.