Telugu journalist slut-shamed for riding pillion on minister’s bike for TV show

TDP party leaders and workers insinuated a sexual relationship between the journalist and the minister, simply because she sat behind the minister on a bike.

WrittenBy:Anjana Meenakshi
Date:
A picture of Haseena Shaik.
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A woman journalist faced online sexual harassment from the supporters of the Telugu Desam Party, after she rode pillion on a bike with a minister while filming a segment of a news feature on Sankranti festivities.

Haseena Shaik, an associate editor with TV9, was on the ground on January 13, covering Sankranti celebrations in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada. At one point, she sat behind former Andhra Pradesh civil supplies minister Kodali Nani of the YSRCP, while the minister participated in a bike rally.

This clip of this segment of the show is being used to insinuate a sexual relationship between the minister and the journalist. 

Many TDP members including the party’s state organising secretary, Sistla Lohith, took to Twitter and shamed Haseena for the segment which was aired on January 14. It featured Sankranti festivities and cock-fighting contests, and was planned with Kodali Nani, who was decked up in traditional wear for the semi-scripted show.  

Haseena had to follow the leader from one point to another, which is why she decided to ride pillion with him, the journalist told The News Minute. “I have been working with TV9 since 2005. There is a general feeling among TDP supporters that TV9 does not grant proper coverage to their party, because of which they are targeting me. The worrying part is that official handles of small scale TDP leaders also reposted the video with such tweets,” said Haseena, referring to tweets implying a relationship between her and the minister. 

“If they feel my channel’s coverage is biased, they can take it up with the management,” said the journalist. “They did not even consider the fact that I am a woman. I have reported on important issues like the Kedarnath floods and the Ukraine war, and have never supported any one party in my coverage. I will now complain to the AP Mahila Commission and to the National Commission for Women. This issue needs to be addressed.”

Following the barrage of derogatory comments against the journalist, the Network of Women in Media, India issued a statement stating that it “strongly condemns” it. The media body called for “immediate and serious action against cyber trolls and bullies attempting to silence journalists”. 

Several independent YouTubers and Twitter handles also defended Haseena, saying that irrespective of the merits of the interview, such statements were derogatory and sexist in nature. “Statements like these reflect poorly on TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and it will not be tolerated by female journalists like me,” said AimTV reporter Rupvani Konneru.

YouTuber Siddhu Manchikanti Potharaju also defended Haseena stating that while he had reservations about the interview itself, slut-shaming and insulting Haseena was completely distasteful and uncalled for. 

This report was republished from The News Minute as part of The News Minute-Newslaundry alliance. It has been lightly edited for style and clarity. Read about our partnership here and become a TNM Member here.

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