The MeToo campaign has finally begun to bring out some positive results. Hardly had the news of Sajid Khan being evicted from IFTDA cooled down when the suspension of M J Akbar and Tarun Tejpal grabbed the attention of the entire social media. The two journalists had their membership suspended by the Editors’ Guild of India until the trial in their respective sexual misconduct cases come to a conclusion.
To quote the press release as issued by the Editors’ Guild of India, “The guild sought the views of its Executive Committee (EC) on what action should be taken against Mr MJ Akbar, a dormant member at present and one of its past presidents, Mr Tarun Tejpal and Mr Gautam Adhikari in light of the charges of sexual misconduct levelled against them by several women journalists.”
“A majority of the EC members suggested that the membership of Mr Akbar should be suspended. There was also consensus that Mr Tejpal be suspended too, until the conclusion of his trial and the Guild should write to Mr Adhikari to seek his response.”
For those unaware of the issue, M J Akbar is a former journalist, who was famous for his Sunday columns in ‘The Times of India’. He was the Minister of State for External Affairs until his name cropped in the Me Too campaign. Led by journalists Priya Ramani and Pallavi Gogoi, over 20 female colleagues accused him of sexually harassing them. Even though M J Akbar denied all accusations as ‘wild and baseless’, he had to step down after a public outrage was launched against him.
On the other hand, who doesn’t know Tarun Tejpal? Once known as the ‘poster boy of investigative journalism’, Tarun Tejpal, who was the chief editor of the investigative journal ‘Tehelka’, was accused by a fellow journalist of sexually assaulting her. Even though the ‘Tehelka’ top brass pulled out all stops to make sure that this news didn’t break out, with co-founder Shoma Chaudhary even shaming the victim, it went in vain as Tarun Tejpal was prosecuted for his actions. Currently, he is out on bail, as the matter is sub-judice.
Following the intense campaign launched under MeToo, both netizens and journalists demanded the removal of M J Akbar and Tarun Tejpal. Last month, when the Guild drew out a list of its members, it included the names of Akbar and Tejpal as well, which compelled the members from within the Guild to demand their removal.
However, as the two have been duly suspended for their promiscuous actions, it is also disheartening to know that no concrete action has been taken against Vinod Dua and Siddharth Bhatia; the two members from the top brass of the notorious left liberal mouthpiece, The Wire.
Vinod Dua was accused by freelance journalist Nishtha Jain and several others of sexually harassing and stalking her, while Siddharth Bhatia was accused by fellow journalists, Bharti Shukla and Reema Sanyal of sexually harassing women. To make matters worse, Siddharth Bhatia even liked one of the tweets, which meant he was well aware of the allegations under MeToo campaign. Now Vinod Dua has been promoted as the host of one ‘HW News’, while Siddharth Bhatia continues to call the shots for ‘The Wire’. Is that not ‘TOXIC’ for the nation?