[ Amar Sangno ]
AMRITSAR, Oct 28: Expressing solidarity with the #MeToo movement which has blown the lid off sexual harassment at workplaces across the country, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has asked media organisations in India to constitute internal complaint committees (ICC) without delay.
On the concluding day of its 9th plenary session here in Punjab on Sunday, the IJU strongly condemned sexual harassment at workplaces, and sharply criticized former external affairs minister MJ Akbar for filing a criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani with the intention of intimidating her and others who have accused him of sexually harassing them when he was the editor at various media houses.
Calling for immediate formation of the ICCs, the IJU said the media houses should “ensure that the composition of such committees is genuine,” and that they provide relief to the complainants and act against the accused.
India’s largest journalists’ organisation also demanded that the union government, particularly the women & child welfare ministry and the Group of Ministers, ensure that the managements set up ICCs in line with the Supreme Court directive.
“The IJU will not view this as interference in press freedom but will ensure that the apex court directives are followed,” it said.
The union also called upon state leaders to set up gender cells, and apprised IJU members of the guidelines on what constitutes sexual harassment.
“The plenary hopes that the #MeToo movement would ensure safer environment for women journalists in future, and that zero tolerance against sexual harassment is advocated across organizations,” it said.
The IJU further demanded that the Telanaga state government provide compensation to journalists who died due to work pressure. It is said that more than 220 journalists have died in Telangana alone in the span of four years due to excessive work pressure from their managements.
The IJU also demanded that the Telangana government implement the Majithia Wage Board recommendations and provide health insurance to the working journalists in the state.