The Network of Women in Media, India, condemning the gangrape of a photo-journalist in Mumbai, has demanded safety for women media professionals
By Team FI
The Network of Women in Media, India, (NWMI) has strongly condemned the gangrape of a woman journalist on August 22, when she was on assignment for a print magazine. The press release, issued by the organisation has called for a speedy police investigation and demanded that justice is delivered without delay.
The women journalist and her male colleague were at the Shakti Mill Compound in the Lower Parel area in Mumbai when they were accosted by a group of men. The journalists were asked to show their authorisation for their presence in the compound. Using this pretext, the woman journalist was taken aside, her colleague was tied up and five persons committed the assault. The NWM credits the presence of mind of the woman journalist who not only freed herself but also managed to free her colleague. The two then filed a complaint with the Mumbai NM Joshi Marg Police Station. The journalist is in a city hospital and is reported to be stable.
The NWMI press release exhorted media employers to “desist from introducing restrictions on work assignments for women journalists and instead ensure the safety and security of their staff.” It also cautioned its colleagues to report on the matter with sensitivity and responsibly.
Pointing out that the incident is a grim reminder of the deteriorating state of safety for women across the country, NWM called attention to the increasing harassment of women professionals in the media, “Along with work-place related harassment, journalists also have had to contend with anti-women prejudices and biased reactions from employers as well as law enforcement officers,” stated the press release.
Mumbai Press Club issues statement
According to a press release issued by a delegation of organisations including the Press Club and Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh the Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh had stated that one person had been arrested and the rest identified and expected to be apprehended soon. The said organisations had also held a protest rally yesterday condemning the incident. The Bombay News Photographers Association and the Working News Cameramen’s Association have also condemned the incident.
Statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau show an 11 percent rise in sexual assault cases in Mumbai, from 553 in 2011 to 614 in 2012. The city also showed a 45 percent rise in sexual harassment cases in 2012 with 235 cases of sexual harassment in 2012 as compared to 162 in 2011. Cases of rape in Mumbai rose at a rate of 5 percent in 2012. The 232 cases put the city second in terms of reported rapes, behind Delhi, which saw 585 cases in 2012.
Featured Photo: Composite sketches of the accused released by Mumbai police on Friday