Tag Archive for NWMI

Woman journalist harassed online, TN Police apathetic

online abuse

Upset women journalists ask Chief Minister Jayalalitha to intervene in the case

By Team FI

An association of women journalists in India has written a letter to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalitha, calling her attention to the online harassment of a Chennai based woman journalist, Kavin Malar.

According to the letter issued by Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), Kavin Malar, a journalist with India Today, has been subjected to character assassination and abusive messages on Facebook for over a month by one Mr Kishore K Swamy. The letter states that Swamy, a self-proclaimed AIADMK supporter, is “repeatedly posting abusive messages on Facebook targeting Kavin Malar’s professional work, her personal character and wilfully attempting to malign her reputation in society as well as in the media.”

The letter alleges that the Chennai police has not taken any action on the complaint filed on May 13, 2013, beyond calling Kavin for an enquiry.

Kishore K Swamy, a self-proclaimed AIADMK supporter is said be a habitual online harasser who particularly targets women journalists- Photo courtesy: Facebook

Kishore K Swamy, a self-proclaimed AIADMK supporter is said be a habitual online harasser who particularly targets women journalists- Photo courtesy: Facebook

Kavin told FeminsitsIndia that she suspects Swamy has chosen to target her primarily because she is a woman and also because she has written often on Dalit issues. According to Kavin, the abuse began soon after her visit to Marakkanam, a small town near Chennai to report on an incident of caste violence that took place in April this year. Soon after, Swamy began posting abusive comments against her on his Facebook wall. Swamy alleged that Kavin used a criminal’s vehicle to travel to Marakkanam and then went to a nearby luxurious bungalow to have sex and smoke cannabis.

“This man writes that I have connection with a criminal, whose name I have not even heard before. He accuses me of traveling to Marakkanam in this criminal’s car. Is India Today not capable of arranging a cab to its employee? He is writing almost daily about me in obscene language. These abuses are too personal and he is intruding into my personal life,” says Kavin.

Online harassment against women is on the rise in India. Earlier this year, in April, activist Kavita Krishnan was threatened with rape during a discussion on the anti-rape movement in India on an online chat forum organised by Rediff.com, a leading Indian news portal. In 2012, Meena Kandasamy, a young poet, was subjected to a violent hate campaign on Twitter which also called for her gang rape. This was in reaction to her supporting Dalit students at a beef eating festival in Hyderabad last year.

Women journos slam Telugu TV channels’ moral policing

Telugu Media moral policing

Sexual harassment and public defamation of women law students by news channels in Hyderabad comes under strong protest from women journalists across India

By Team FI

Network of Women in Media, India, (NWMI) has strongly condemned the misogynist portrayal, by certain television channels, of the female law students who attended a party in Hyderabad on 12th April. In a press release issued this week, NWMI protested against the incident which they described as sexual harassment of women in a public place, and criminal intimidation of the women with threat of public defamation through media.

On 12 April 2013, a group of students from Nalsar Law University attended a farewell party for their graduating seniors at a night Club located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. When they stepped out of the club around 10.30 pm, one of the women students spotted someone taking their pictures with a mobile phone. She objected and demanded to see the mobile. The mobile turned out to be a dummy, without a card in it. When she further objected and demanded that the phone with which photos were taken be handed over, other media cameramen who were present began to film the altercation. Despite repeated protests, the media cameramen continued filming the women.

The next morning several Telugu channels – TV9, ABN Andhra Jyoti, Sakshi TV, Studio N, NTV, IdlyTV, and News 24 – showed the footage. Significantly, while only a couple of channels were present outside the club and were involved in the incident, the story was generously shared with many other channels. Links to this footage were also put up by several websites. The victims of this coverage were not given the opportunity to respond or give their side of the story.

The anchors of the TV channels repeatedly referred to the women as punch drunk, half naked, and nude, when the women students were dressed in strapless evening wear. One of the anchors referred to their attire as “creepily offensive short clothes.” Though none of the media persons were present in the club, the anchors claimed that they women were dancing in the club. To make matters worse one news channel put together several clips of provocative dancing from various sources, implying that the present incident was somehow connected to those.

The channels turned into ‘moral police’ when they claimed that the students were “leaving Indian traditions in tatters by their dressing and behavior”. The reporters and anchors held forth on excessive freedom for women and its “devastating” effects on society. This despite the fact that the channels’ staple fare for advertising revenue on their news bulletins comprises song and dance sequences from films and film events which regularly feature skimpily clad women dancing provocatively to songs with double meaning lyrics.

The channels also falsely claimed that the students’ behavior was condemned by women’s organizations even though they only showed the statements of two little-known local politicians, thereby misleading public opinion.

According to the NWMI, the TV channels, by photographing/filming people without their permission in a public place have grossly interfered in the privacy of these individuals. This appears to be in violation of items 4, 6, 1, and 2 of the News Broadcasters’ Association’s Code of Ethics for programming and also appears to be in violation of the programming code prescribed under the Cable Networks Regulation Act.

Women journalists representing NWMI have demanded that the channels involved in this misdemeanor should be fined and made to apologize to the victims, and the said apology should be telecast on the channels involved.
detailed report of the incident is already on the media watch website,The Hoot

The online petition drafted by the victims

Sexual harassment: Women journos condemn Sun TV’s actions

Sun TV sexual harassment

Women journalists have issued a statement in support of S Akila, Sun TV news anchor who was sacked for filing a sexual harassment charge against her superior V. Raja

By Team FI

The Network of Women in Media (NWMI), India, an independent forum of media professionals have condemned the sacking of a Sun TV journalist, S Akila who was fired by the Chennai based TV channel after she filed a police complaint of sexual harassment against her Editor V. Raja.

As per the press release issued by the NWMI, S Akila had joined Sun TV Chennai in December 2011 as a news anchor/news producer. Allegedly V. Raja, the Chief Editor and Vetrivendhan, the Reporters’ Coordinator indicated that the confirmation of her job and subsequent pay rise depended on the ‘compromises’ she was willing to make. This was, apparently, not the first time they had made such demands, but due to the hostile and intimidating atmosphere at the office, few women had been able to resist. As a result of her refusal to concede to their demands of sexual favours in return for job security and pay hikes, her confirmation remained pending even after completing the six-month probationary period.

Meanwhile, in November 2012, Akila’s Diwali bonus was withheld. When she raised the issue with Raja, he asked her to get in touch with him over the phone after reaching home. Upon phoning him, he told her that she had been confirmed and that she should “take care of him” for the favour. Akila terminated the call, but managed to record the conversation.

Her refusal was retaliated with harassment including verbal abuse in front of her colleagues. On January 21st, he summoned her to his cabin and threatened her with dire consequences if she went public with a complaint of harassment. Soon thereafter, in contravention of the norm of assigning shifts, he put her on morning shifts for several weeks, which required her to leave her residence at 3.30 am in order to be at office at 5 am, since the office did not arrange for morning pick-up.

V Raja

V Raja

When Akila confronted Raja on February 26th and questioned this unusual assigning of a continuous morning shift, she was informed this action was taken because she was not “adjusting” to him. This situation lasted for few weeks, till it became unbearable, upon which Akila filed a complaint of sexual harassment on March 19th. Raja was arrested under Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act. Two days later, Vetrivendhan was also arrested on the same charges.

The situation however did not improve for Akila. She received an anonymous phone call threatening to kill her. Her friend and colleague Kannan who was aware of the harassment and supportive of her, was suspended on grounds of a complaint filed by colleagues who refused to work with him or Akila.

When Akila reported to the office on March 25th, she was not assigned any work. As per schedule, she was to anchor the 12.00 noon news bulletin, but she was not allowed to go on air.

In a complete travesty of justice, on March 26th, Raja who was by then out on bail, joined work, and the next day, Akila was handed a suspension order. Thus, a woman who resisted sexual harassment and stood up to demands for sexual favours has been further victimised.

The press release noted that that there is no redressal mechanism at Sun TV for complaints of sexual harassment. This, the release stated, is in contempt of the Guidelines issued in 1997 by the Supreme Court in the Vishakha case, which places an obligation on every establishment in the country to ensure the rights of women workers by creating a conducive workplace free from sexual harassment. These principles of gender equity and labour rights are also enshrined in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012 which was passed by both houses of Parliament and is only awaiting the President’s approval.

NWMI members have also demanded immediate reinstatement of S. Akila, suspension of V. Raja and an independent inquiry into the case.

Meanwhile, J Ravindran, Counsel for Sun TV Network, in an email sent to NWMI, refuted all the allegations and stated that V Raja is still under suspension. The TV Channel legal representative also stated that Akila was “suspended based on complaints from more than 15 women employees and women journalists.” He further stated that an independent enquiry into both the employees will be conducted by a committee headed by a retired judicial officer.