The Foundation for Media Professionals welcomes the breaking of the silence on sexual harassment in the media and expresses solidarity with the women journalists who have come forward with specific allegations against their superiors or colleagues and prominent persons they had met professionally.
This should serve as a moment of introspection for the media fraternity and compel media organizations to be more gender sensitive, ensure a safe work environment for women journalists, promote diversity at all levels and initiate proceedings, wherever warranted, under the 2013 law relating to sexual harassment of women at workplace.
The Foundation believes that zero tolerance to sexual harassment at workplace is an essential condition for any media organization to be capable of discharging its basic responsibility of being a watchdog.
As a corollary, the Foundation demands that every media organization should
• Prominently display its anti sexual harassment policy and communicate it to all its employees.
• Make certain that a complainant of sexual harassment is under no circumstances victimized.
• Constitute an internal complaints committee that is robust enough to deal with complaints against the most influential persons in the hierarchy.
• Make special provision to support the complainant in the event she suffers harassment while she is out reporting in a distant place.
Full disclosure: This Foundation is a small collective of journalists meeting once or twice a year over the last one decade. Most of its work – such as organizing events, issuing statements or running an online Media Tracker - is done by members volunteering in their free time, over the phone, emails or WhatsApp. Though it does not actually have any workplace or staff, it has decided to set up an internal complaints committee, as a token of its commitment to checking sexual harassment in every conceivable space.
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta