PRESS RELEASE-IFJ Demands Justice for Journalist Dismissed after Filing Harassment Complaint #Vaw


 

Media Release: India                                                                                       

April 4, 2013         

 IFJ Demands Justice for Journalist Victimised after Filing Harassment Complaint

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins partners and affiliates in demanding justice and fair treatment for S. Akila, a journalist placed under suspension by the Sun TV news channel based in the southern Indian city of Chennai, after she filed sexual harassment complaints against two of her seniors in the organisation.

According to information provided by the Network of Women in Media, India, Akila joined Sun TV in its Chennai headquarters in December 2011 as a news anchor and producer and faced, from that moment on, extraordinary pressures on the job. Two of her immediate seniors were reportedly explicit in the demands she would be expected to fulfill.

Refusal to comply led to Akila’s probation being extended, her earned perks – such as the annual bonus – being denied, and finally, to her being threatened with “dire consequences” if she went public with the situation she faced. Despite a time-honoured convention that women would not be put on shifts at odd times of the 24×7 news cycle, she was soon assigned as anchor for the 6 a.m. news bulletin, requiring her to report at work an hour ahead.

After repeated protests failed to fetch any relief, Akila on 19 March, filed a complaint of sexual harassment with the nearest police station. Her two immediate seniors, both named in the complaint, were soon afterwards arrested and charged under the relevant law applicable in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Akila reportedly began receiving threatening telephone calls afterwards. A male colleague who had supported her struggle against harassment was soon afterwards placed under suspension. On 25 March, Akila reported for work at her appointed time but was not allowed to anchor the noon news bulletin she was assigned to. A day later, one of the men named in her complaint rejoined Sun TV after securing bail.

Akila was served an order of suspension the following day.

“We are shocked at this sequence of events in one of India’s largest and most diversified media conglomerates”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

“The IFJ demands a quick and impartial inquiry into the entire range of circumstances leading to Akila’s dismissal from her job and prompt restitution for the mental trauma she has suffered.

“The news organisation that has permitted this manner of exploitative culture to flourish should without further delay, hold out reassurances to all its female employees and institute strict sanctions against any further recurrence of such behaviour”.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950

 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter@ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebookwww.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific 

 

Indian Photo-Journalist, Tarun Sehrawat, Dies at 22 #Tehelka


June 18,2012

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and its affiliates and partners in the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN), are deeply grieved at the death on June 15 of photo-journalist Tarun Sehrawat, after he contracted multiple infections on assignment in the Abujmarh region of India’s Chhattisgarh state.

 

Sehrawat was on assignment with the weekly news and current affairs magazine Tehelka and with his colleague, reporter Tusha Mittal, spent a week early in May in the thickly forested area, believed to be among the main operational bases of the Maoist insurgency that has been active in parts of Chhattisgarh and neighbouring states in recent years.

 

Their account of life in an area that remains for the most part beyond the media gaze was published in the print edition of the magazine dated May 12.

 

Both Sehrawat and Mittal came down with severe infections and fevers at about the same time. Mittal recovered after two weeks under intensive care but Sehrawat was hit by a combination of jaundice, typhoid and malaria, and had slipped into a coma. He regained consciousness early in June, but suffered a severe cerebral haemorrhage on June 10. He died on June 15 aged 22, the cause of death identified as cerebral malaria.

 

Tarun Sehrawat’s portfolio of pictures from his final assignment in Abujmarh can be viewed here.

 

In mourning the loss of a dedicated young professional, the IFJ urges the news industry to pay heed to the imperatives of care and preparation, when assigning reporters to areas of potential safety risk and health hazard.

 

“We urge renewed attention to the code evolved by the International News Safety Institute and widely endorsed by news industry managements”.

 

Titled “Surviving the Story”, the code observes by way of preface, that the “preservation of life and safety is paramount”.

 

“Staff and freelancers equally should be made aware”, it goes on, “that unwarranted risks in pursuit of a story are unacceptable and strongly discouraged. News organisations are urged to consider safety first, before competitive advantage, for journalists in hostile environments.”

 

The safety code requires that “assignments to war and other danger zones must be voluntary and only involve experienced news gatherers and those under their direct supervision.”

 

Employers are responsible under the code, for providing “efficient safety equipment and medical and health safeguards appropriate to the threat to all staff and freelancers assigned to hazardous locations”.

 

“We appreciate that Tarun Sehrawat and his colleague volunteered for this assignment and that the Tehelka team took all decisions in good faith and the belief that an important public interest was served in getting the story out of a region that few media persons venture into”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

 

“We urge that in future, all such decisions be made after due deliberation over the risks and the consequences involved”.

 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950

 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific 

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