A Victory for Women Journos in India

The National Alliance of Journalists(NAJ) and Delhi Union of Journalists(DUJ) welcomes the judgement absolving journalist Priya Ramani of defamation in the case filed against her by former editor and ex-Union minister M.J. Akbar. Ramani had dared to write about being sexually harassed by Akbar, then her boss at the Asian Age.

Her revelations during the #MeToo movement two years ago had sparked off a series of explosive allegations by as many as 14 women journalists about being propositioned, called to the boss’ hotel room at odd hours etc. Akbar chose to file a defamation case against Ramani alone, ignoring the others’ allegations. After the acquittal, Ramani said, “It feels amazing. I feel vindicated on behalf of all the women who have ever spoken out against sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has got the attention it deserves. Despite the fact that it was me, the victim, who had to stand up in court as the accused.”

The NAJ -DUJ Gender Council commends the outstanding criminal lawyer Rebecca John who valiantly fought a difficult case against a powerful man and has described it as “the most important case of my career”. Her defence significantly rested on the fact that Ramani was speaking the truth for the public good.

The NAJ – DUJ Gender Council also commends journalist Ghazala Wahab and Niloufer Venkatraman who testified on behalf of Ramani.

Delhi’s Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Pandey has observed in his path-breaking order that” Sexual abuse takes away dignity and self-confidence.” He has said, “the right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right to dignity.” Since Ramani’s allegations dated back to 1994, he has also observed that “a woman has right to put her grievance even after decades.” (pic courtesy: csmonitor.com)

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