Daily Archives: 22 November 2013

Online appeal to protect Tehelka journo’s privacy

The following is the full text of an online appeal to protect the privacy of the Tehelka journalist whose complaint against the magazine’s editor Tarun J. Tejpal resulted in his “offer” to recuse himself from office for six months.

To all editors, journalists, bloggers, users of social media, and the public:

Some websites and blogs are posting the Tehelka journalist’s complaint to the magazine’s management or reproducing parts of it, perhaps with the intent to expose a grave act of sexual assault by a man occupying a powerful position.

However, in doing so, they are violating basic ethical and legal injunctions on the way cases of sexual assault must be reported.

The journalist’s complaint to her company is a private document and not a public one.

While private documents can be leaked in the ‘public interest’, this principle is applicable to the emails of Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury sent to Tehelka staffers, not to the journalist’s emailed complaint.

In cases of sexual assault, it is a well established principle that the media can name the perpetrator, but not the victim.

The identity and privacy of a victim must be protected at all costs.

We are distressed that many people are circulating the journalist’s emails, and other journalists, bloggers and users of social media are publishing it in parts or whole.

Some have argued that the leaked email has exposed the gravity of the assault, which justifies it coming into the public domain.

While we are determined to report violence against women, we also believe in doing it sensitively.

It is possible to report and comment on sexual crimes without providing explicit accounts that cause additional distress to the victim.

While we stand behind the journalist in her courageous fight, let her choose how she wants her experience reported in public.

In the past week, the journalist has, through her friends, requested several times that her privacy and dignity be protected and that her personal email not be shared.

Please remember that the woman’s private email may be used only with her written consent.

We request all users of social and mainstream media to refrain from infringing on a woman’s privacy.

We request those who have posted such content to remove it immediately. Let us be sensitive as we extend support to the journalist.

If you wish to support the petition, please email reportresponsibly.india@gmail.com

Link via Supriya Sharma

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POLL: Is sexual harassment rampant in media?

Shocking and disgraceful as it is, l’affaire Tarun J. Tejpal is sadly not the only incident of a sexual predator lurking around Indian newsrooms.  Except that,  in this case, a brave journalist—and her equally brave colleagues—broke the code of omerta and let the world know what was happening.

But Delhi is not India, one magazine is not the media. In an exploding media ecosystem, there are hundreds of newspapers, magazines and TV stations across the country, where the demographic profile of journalists is undergoing a paradigm shift.

From where one routinely hears of women journalists are having to silently stomach the indignity of their male bosses for better compensation, better work opportunities, etcetera. We are not talking of consensual relationships here.

However, most of these stories are in the realm of rumour and speculation.  What then is the reality? Is sexual harassment at the media workplace rampant in India? Have you heard of, seen or experienced it personally? How difficult is it for women journalists to stand up and obtain justice?

Also read: Tarun J. Tejpal steps aside as editor of Tehelka

Life yourselves up, dearie, or get into my elevator

Tarun Tejpal on the five facets of his life

How Congress regime stepped in to help Tehelka

A magazine, a scam, a owner & his Goan house

NYT, WSJ weigh on Tehelka‘s Goa controversy

Tehelka promoter says he didn’t turn off FW tap

10 reasons why ‘The Hindu’ returned to its past

N. Ram, chairman of Kasturi & Sons Limited and the former editor of The Hindu, on why the “family” reverted to its past after a brief flirtation with “professionals”, in an interview with Shougat Dasgupta of Tehelka:

“Editorialising in news reports, editorialising in the guise of news, which is strictly prohibited by the binding code of editorial values adopted by the Board of Directors of our company in 2011 and displayed on the home page of The Hindu‘s website.

“The Editor being away from our headquarters and most important edition centre and market, Chennai, far too often and far too long, sometimes for events in India and abroad that were peripheral, or completely unrelated, to the work of the newspaper.

“Weakening local coverage in key edition centres, especially our home base, and undertaking campaign journalism.

“Going for a surfeit of personalised columns at the expense of news coverage when space was under great pressure and pagination was being reduced.

“A lack of attention to detail and a failure to put in place an orderly system of editorial decision-making, which was aggravated by the fact that the Editor was frequently away from the headquarters.

“Letting strongly held personal opinions and prejudices get in the way of professional news coverage, so that it became impossible to keep the necessary professional distance in covering and presenting the news.

“Going for ‘soft design’ – chaotic, loud, sometimes garish, lacking any internal consistency or logic – and virtually doing away with the pure design that Mario Garcia, one of the world’s leading newspaper designers, and his team, working with our designers, had put in place for us.

“Making a number of inappropriate or maladroit editorial appointments, which culminated in the appointment of a totally unsuitable Executive Editor in the national capital.

“Resentment grew in some of our major news bureaus and a divide began to appear between the long-timers, who had spent decades of their professional lives with our newspaper and were familiar with its core values, and some of the higher-paid new-comers, often for no fault of the latter.”

Read the full interview: Family vs outsider

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: In family-owned paper, only furniture is fixed

The Hindu issue is more complex than you think’

Hindu‘ family chucks out ‘professional’ redesign

The Hindu situation had become irremediable’

The Hindu redesign was a mishmash, an eyesore’