The #MeToo movement in India has been long overdue – whisper networks around men in powerful positions have now turned into loud, unwavering voices. After Raya Sarkar kickstarted our nation’s own #MeToo movement with the list that exposed the rampant misogyny in the form of harassment and assault in Indian academia, women journalists have started sharing their stories of harassment in the field of media, mostly perpetrated by men who hold top positions in their respective workplaces.

It all started on Thursday, October 4, when a female comic and poet on Twitter posted a series of tweets accusing comedian Utsav Chakraborty of sexual harassment. Multiple screenshots as evidence, threads, and two failed apologies later, Twitter became an avalanche of stories shared by women journalists one by one.

Also read: Utsav Chakraborty And The Performative ‘Woke Men’ Of The Comedy Circuit

Journalist Sandhya Menon tweeted about how KR Srinivas, the resident editor of the Times of India (Hyderabad) had sexually harassed her. She went on to say how her official complaint to the HR department did not bear fruit – in fact, they breached the code of confidentiality and told Sreenivas about the complaint.

Soon after, she was flooded with messages from women who had experienced lewd behaviour by Sreenivas. She shared them on the Twitter thread, garnering more reactions.

On October 6, the employees of Times of India united and sent an internal petition to the editors asking to look into the allegations.

As of today, seven women have written to the Times of India accusing him of sexual misconduct, and asking that he be terminated from his post.

In her thread, she continued to call out men – another was about Manoj Ramachandran, an associate editor at Hindustan Times in New Delhi.

She also called out Gautam Adhikari, former editor of DNA Mumbai, for forcibly kissing her.

After several other women came out with similar stories, former Times of India journalist, Sonora Jha, added to the accusation by recalling a similar incident with him.

Gautam Adhikari has denied the allegation.

With the outpour of both support and more stories, a woman shared her experience as a journalist who had to interview Kiran Nagarkar, a celebrated author and film and drama critic. Not long after, more women came out with accusations against him.

Soon, more and more women started coming out with their own experiences with men in the industry. Anoo Bhuyan, a journalist with The Wire, called out Mayank Jain, a correspondent with Business Standard India, for sexually harassing her.

More women started to come out with similar accusations against Jain, one of whom was Japleen Pasricha, editor-in-chief of FII.

More women continued to tweet about his predatory behaviour. Bloomberg Quint and Scroll, both released statements against Jain, an ex-employee. Business Standard India has set up an internal committee to review the allegations against him.

Other journalists such as Meghnad Bose, a senior correspondent at The Quint, Chitranshu Tewari, an employee at Newslaundry, Prashant Jha, former Chief of Bureau and political editor were also called out through a series of screenshots and experiences by multiple women. Sidharth Bhatia, founder and editor of The Wire, released a statement denying allegations of sexually predatory behaviour made against him.

On October 8, the Network of Women in Media released a statement supporting the women journalists that courageously came out with stories of harassment at the hands of influential men. It included a list of 9 urgent demands from media organisations, including journalism colleges and departments.

Also read: Sexual Harassment At The Workplace: A Story That’s As Old As The Hills

The accounts of these women over the course of four days have not only gotten serious recognition from different organisations but have also brought to light the hidden misogyny in the media world. After Tanushree Dutta’s allegations against Nana Patekar and Bollywood’s deafening silence on the subject, these women refuse to make the problem of misogyny and power imbalance disappear, and this has forced people to take a long, hard look at the grossly unequal workspaces they are a part of. It will be a tough fight to call out predators from the many different sectors that exist, but it has surely begun.


Featured Image Source: University Of Leeds

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