‘WION is failing journalists’: Statement questions WION, Zee on MJ Akbar’s return to newsroom

The statement also urged the Editors Guild to take up the matter and ask every news organisation to bar Akbar from its newsrooms.

WrittenBy:NL Team
Date:
Article image
  • Share this article on whatsapp

“How will India’s news media report sexual misconduct and hold others accountable when it doesn’t hold such standards on its own?”

This question has been raised by over 150 journalists, writers and artists who wrote to WION News asking it to "stop MJ Akbar from being employed in its newsroom". WION is owned by the Zee Media group.

The signatories said that “by allowing someone accused by multiple people of sexual harassment in its newsroom, WION and Zee TV are violating the responsibility they have to journalists who carry out the important mission of informing the public".

subscription-appeal-image

Support Independent Media

The media must be free and fair, uninfluenced by corporate or state interests. That's why you, the public, need to pay to keep news free.

Contribute

By choosing to employ MJ Akbar, the statement said, "WION is failing journalists and ignoring the traumatic experiences of more than 20 women who have courageously spoken out about MJ Akbar’s despicable misuse of power.”

A former editor and union minister, Akbar had been accused of sexual harassment by several women in 2018, following which he resigned as minister of state for external affairs. Last month, Newslaundry had reported that Akbar was returning to the newsroom by joining Wion.

Also see
article imageMJ Akbar returns to newsroom, courtesy Zee Media’s WION
article image'Akbar not a man of stellar reputation': Court acquits Priya Ramani in MJ Akbar defamation case

The statement also urged the Editors Guild of India to take up the matter and ask every news organisation to bar Akbar from its newsrooms because “a clear, meaningful message needs to be sent out to young female journalists that the Guild is committed to ensuring a safe working space for them where they are respected and encouraged to speak up.”

The statement noted that Akbar had filed a complaint of criminal defamation against a fellow journalist, Priya Ramani, for speaking out, “effectively seeking to put a fellow woman journalist behind bars”. The statement said their message to WION was that “putting MJ Akbar in a position of power would have a chilling effect of silencing its own and other journalists against abuse.”

It reiterated that there should be no room for sexual harassment and sexual harassers at workplace.

Earlier this month, the Coalition for Women in Journalism, a global body, had also released a statement opposing the return of Akbar to WION’s newsroom, saying that his presence in the newsroom was “not only a sexual threat, but a regular reminder to women women employees of WION that their employer organization will not back them in case they are endangered by Akbar’s presence.”

subscription-appeal-image

Power NL-TNM Election Fund

General elections are around the corner, and Newslaundry and The News Minute have ambitious plans together to focus on the issues that really matter to the voter. From political funding to battleground states, media coverage to 10 years of Modi, choose a project you would like to support and power our journalism.

Ground reportage is central to public interest journalism. Only readers like you can make it possible. Will you?

Support now

You may also like