ig names from the media fraternity and the Hindi film industry are being hit hard by the #Metoo squall that is adding momentum each second. The MeToo of Minister of State for External Affairs and a former journalist MJ Akbar, who is facing a flurry of accusations of sexual harassment, had been away while allegations were made by several female journalists who said that he harassed them during his long tenure as an Editor in a number of leading publications. The matter is still making breaking posts on social media and yet to settle, there is another veteran journalist Vinod Dua who has been caught in the storm. The woman narrated her nightmare on a social media platform and claimed that Vinod Dua had sexually harassed her in June 1989. The woman mentioned in her post that when she graduated from Jamia Mass Communication Centre, she went for an interview with Vinod Dua, who was then starting a new show. When the woman entered his office, he made a lewd sexual joke in a soft voice, which the woman found offensive. Continuing with the interview, when they began discussing her salary, she quoted an amount to which the journalist replied saying, “Tumhari aukat kya hai?”
The woman further said that she had faced sexual harassment earlier as well, but this sort of humiliation was a new experience for her. Her ordeal did not end here, and when she bagged a job in another organisation, the post mentioned that Vinod somehow came to know from his friends in the industry and one night he came to the woman’s office during late night hours. The woman mentioned that she thought, he was here to apologise for his behaviour during the interview, but she was proven wrong. Vinod asked her to sit in his car and before she could settle, he started drooling all over her face. That day, the filmmaker somehow managed to get off the car.
Vinod Dua is now associated with The Wire. It is a not-for-profit news website founded by Siddharth Varadarajan, M. K. Venu, and Sidharth Bhatia. Dua hosts a programme Jan Gan Man Ki Baat on this portal. He is an extraordinary journalist. He always criticised the establishment and spoke his mind. While India has entered into a propaganda war, he comes up with intelligent arguments. His programme makes effortless attempt to convince his stand on every issue in India. It’s not that he is just a Modi critic but he refused to be a part of Darbari media and the fraternity that has become a mouthpiece of the ruling party and its leaders. He anchors ‘Jan Gan Man Ki Baat’ for The Wire Hindi. The show is a 10-minute current affairs programme which is telecasted on The Wire’s website where he often took a critical of the government, but with the required facts and numbers. He mesmerises his audiences with his stand on topic or the burning issues of India. Dua is fearless and yet manipulative TV persona with a vast knowledge of every subject that he handles. But each one has their dark side too. On Social media, he is very much ill-famed and trolled by Modi supporters. He is being considered as a leftist. Well, he is trolled abused and also attacked virtually but still, he keeps his vigour and launches every attack on the government very brilliantly. When it comes to MeToo allegation, I don’t want to doubt the stand of a woman who is been harassed — there are many journalists in India who came in the bad light over different controversies. The casting couch is not limited to the film industry. Journalism too is largely surviving on favours and perks. How can we forget #TanuSharma, in her four-page complaint, Tanushree narrated a story of harassment by her superiors from the day she joined the India TV as a News Anchor. She has suffered the nastiest things. Tarun Tejpal, a journalist, publisher, novelist, and former Editor-In-Chief of Tehelka magazine, in November 2013 stepped down as the Editor for six months after a female colleague accused him of sexual assault. He was arrested on November 30, 2013, and is currently on bail since July 1, 2014.
Still now, only the extreme cases came out as the media reports against the journalists, but as the #MeToo movement intensifies in the country, a group of journalists also held a protest expressing solidarity with their women colleagues who have come out and demanded proper implementation of the prevention of sexual harassment act to ensure dignity at workplace. The protesting journalists also sought immediate action against those facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
They also demanded the removal of Union minister MJ Akbar, who has been accused of sexual harassment by a number of women journalists, when he was an Editor of several publications, a few years ago.
The scribes also held placards bearing messages that sexual harassment at workplaces was not acceptable and said: “accountability begins from the top” with protesting journalists raising slogans seeking removal of Akbar.
The group of journalists also passed a joint resolution seeking justice for the victims. Sexual harassment at the workplace is non-negotiable. Besides members of the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), journalists from some print and electronic media assembled on the Parliament Street and raised slogans, demanding proper implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act. The fire of #MeToo can burn many coffins those were buried long back due to non-availability of the proper platform. Hope these scribes come clean and there will be a sense of security amongst female scribes.
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