There was a need for such an association to address the issues faced by women journalists as none of them existed before.
Women Journalists Association was launched on a pan-India level to provide support to women journalists who face several issues while discharging their duties on field. Today women have to manage both office and household duties amicably. Many of them have to face sexual harassment at work and there is lack of proper forum to resolve these issues. The association also aims to promote equality in areas such as equal pay, work life balance and childcare. The association discussed about various risks faced by women journalists, with focus on the safety of women journalists and media coverage of violence and trauma. Many of them had experienced some form of intimidation, threats, or abuse in relation to their work. Most incidents of harassment and violence go unreported as women suffer in silence.
AV spoke to few committee members of Women Journalists Association to know about why there is the need for a gender based association for women.
Manisha Gurav, the President of Women Journalists Association said, “Several women are being heckled in the Electronic and Print Media and they don’t have a voice for representing them. Whenever women go forward to file complaint about sexual harassment and threat received by them police hesitate to file a complaints. Even if they register complaint they don’t investigate the matter properly and don’t follow up the cases and the victim is denied justice. Recently, a woman journalist Manashree Pathak was assaulted, molested and abused by four to five goons at Vakola, Santacruz. Pathak was covering Santacruz cylinder blast story when the incident happened.”
“Our issues have to be addressed and taken up seriously and full protection should be offered to women journalists. The police should take cognizance and register FIR immediately if there is a serious matter. As a journalist in the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh there was an incident where I was heckled but the police didn’t take up the issue. The commissioner in the meeting agreed and has sent a memorandum to all police stations to this effect. He has also agreed to our request for us to meet up with the DCP every month and address all our grievances paving way for resolving cases urgently” she said.
Bhagyashri who is a treasurer with the association also had a bad experience while working with Sakal News. She said, “There is a need for the police to take up this cause, including offering protection to women reporters, sub-editors etc.”
Poonan Upraj, secretary of the association said, “When we try to cover festivals like Ganesh Utsav we are pushed around and abused by miscreants. We just want to be taken seriously and police must offer security to us when we file complaints with them. There was a need for such an association to address the issues faced by women journalists as none of them existed before.”