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Tehelka editor steps down after allegations of sexual misconduct

Discussion in 'Internal Affairs' started by tunguska, Nov 21, 2013.

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  1. tunguska

    tunguska Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Tarun Tejpal, the founder-editor of weekly news magazine Tehelka, stepped down from his post on Wednesday for six months after tendering an unconditional apology for “misconduct†with a female colleague during the magazine’s THiNK festival in Goa earlier this month. The matter went viral on Wednesday evening with many accusing Tejpal of being let off easily.


    “A bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident…†wrote Tejpal in an email to Shoma Chaudhury, Tehelka’s managing editor.

    “I feel atonement cannot be just words… I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka… for the next six months.â€

    But as his email and Chaudhury’s subsequent email to Tehelka staff informing them of Tejpal’s decision spread across social media, many expressed outrage at the tone of his ‘atonement’ email and at the fact that he had been let off so easily; some called it a “six-month holiday.â€

    This, especially since the woman concerned is believed to have written an email to Chaudhury in which she narrates details of the assault. In the email, the woman has alleged that Tejpal physically assaulted her at least twice during the festival and that she informed three colleagues about the incidents when they happened.

    The female staffer said that she couldn’t inform Chaudhury at the time because it was impossible for her to get a minute alone with the managing editor given the demands of the festival on her senior colleague’s time.

    In her email, the female staffer has asked that “Tehelka constitute an anti sexual harassment cell as per the Vishakha guidelines immediately, to investigate this matter. At the very least, I will need a written apology from Mr Tejpal...â€

    Top journalists described Tejpal’s letter and apology as grossly inadequate and demanded more accountability from the magazine.

    “It is meaningless for Tarun Tejpal to "recuse" himself as editor. Sexual harassment at Tehelka has to be dealt with according to law,†Tweeted senior editor Siddharth Varadarajan.

    Senior CNN-IBN journalist Bhupendra Chaubey tweeted his dismay at the incident: “absolutely shattered to see what's happened in Tehelka. To the victim, I just want to say, fellow journos are with u. Be brave, take care.â€

    Women’s activist Kavita Krishnan expressed the thoughts of many others when she called for the formation of a proper sexual harassment cell according to the Visakha guidelines, a proper enquiry and appropriate punishment for Tejpal in a series of tweets.

    The Supreme Court in 1997 laid down guidelines in a case involving a social worker in Rajasthan, pending formal legislation, for dealing with sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

    The Vishakha case guidelines defined what sexual harassment was, mentioned duties of employers in dealing with such complaints and stipulated formation of committees to dispose of harassment complaints.

    Tejpal confirmed the contents of the leaked e-mail. In response to an SMS sent to him by HT, he said:“Yes that’s right. I think my self-explanatory letter has been put by someone in the public domain.â€

    Reacting to the incident, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi on Thursday said: "Vacation of six months is not a punishment of an offence."

    "Does the organisation have a policy against sexual harassment of women in the workplace, are its members aware?" She asked.

    "We should support the victim. The Congress and its surrogates have maintained silence which needs to be looked. But when a woman is going through all this, no help is coming out," the BJP leader added.

    Tehelka editor steps down after allegations of sexual misconduct - Hindustan Times
     
  2. tunguska

    tunguska Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Tehelka stings itself - wake up call for media

    The Tehelka molestation/sexual harassment (we yet don’t have details to finally call it one) case, where the publication’s founder and editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal has been accused, is making waves. Tarun has decided to do “penance that lacerates” him for his “bad lapse of judgement” and has therefore “offered to recuse” himself from the editorship of the publication for the next six months.

    But there are critical questions that come to mind and they cannot be brushed under the carpet. A crime, if it has been committed, cannot be wished away with a self imposed exile. It is a legal issue, apart from being a huge social problem, and it is surprising that despite it now being common knowledge, and that the incident actually happened a fortnight ago, there is no police complaint. Who has pressured the victim from doing so?

    More importantly, can a magazine that prides itself in exposing the wrong all around hide behind the façade of ‘internal matter’? Can sexual harassment or whatever it is finally proven to be, wished away by saying the accused has decided his own punishment and is apologetic?

    The answer to all this is a resounding NO!

    What makes the whole thing look even more murky, rather sad, is that the said incident happened (not once but twice) in Goa during the magazine organised literary event called Think. What’s more? One of the important discussion topic on Day 1 of the agenda was:-

    THE BEAST IN OUR MIDST – Rape Survivors speak their stories.

    Funnily enough, this debate was moderated by the magazine’s managing editor, who is now terming the incident as an internal matter and not something that she should be answerable to anyone outside. Fair enough? No!

    The fact is that the media is undergoing tremendous strain currently, and it is not just to do with the march of technology. With the rapidly growing-in-clout social media keeping a hawk like eye on every move we make, the credibility is at stake too.

    Far too often we are accused of jumping the gun and accusing, rather declaring someone a crook or a criminal way before even the charges are framed. Sure, some of the cases seem so open and shut that the delay in naming them criminals has more to do with the tardy system we have in place and the media would be failing in its duty if it didn’t do so quickly.

    However, by that same yardstick, we ourselves must be open to open scrutiny too and be ready to take the blow on the chin. Not doing so amounts to plain double standards, which we are increasingly being accused of.

    Just saying it was bad judgement etc is not enough. He must present himself for a full probe by the authorities. These harassment cases are not mere internal matter, but concern the society too, of which, we, the media are a watchdog. And a tainted watchdog can never be good for the society.
     
  3. tunguska

    tunguska Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Goa cops to probe sexual assault charge against Tejpal; Tehelka seeks more time

    Goa Police will conduct a preliminary enquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct levelled by a journalist against editor-in-chief of Tehelka news weekly Tarun Tejpal, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday.

    Parrikar told IANS that if the preliminary enquiry reveals that the incident took place in Goa, formal charges would be filed.

    "I have asked the police to conduct a preliminary enquiry. Right now we do not have an clear indication if the incident happened in Goa," Parrikar said.

    "If the enquiry reveals that the incident took place here, then we will proceed further as per the law," the chief minister said.

    In New Delhi, Shoma Chaudhury, the magazine's managing editor, told journalists that she needed time to respond to the matter. "Give me time to do the correct thing, under pressure I will falter. Give me the time to prioritise this," she said when journalists asked her if the magazine had responded correctly to the allegations against Tejpal.

    Tejpal has been accused of sexual misconduct by a junior colleague at Tehelka during a high-profile conference held in Goa earlier this month.

    Tejpal, who has not denied the charges, resigned from his post for six months, calling it "atonement" for his actions.

    "A bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for," Tejpal wrote in an email sent to staff at the magazine on Wednespoday. Women's right groups criticised his response as insufficient and the revelations led news bulletins on cable networks.
     
  4. tunguska

    tunguska Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    BJP accuse Tehelka for doing Cover up in Tarun Tejpal Sexual Assault case.

    Criticising Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal for allegedly molesting his junior, the BJP on Thursday said he is trying to cover up the issue misusing his power and name.

    Addressing a Press Conference in New Delhi, party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said, “Some sort of cover up seems to be underway.”

    Earlier in the day, Tarun Tejpal stepped down as editor-in-chief of Tehelka but only for six months after allegations of molesting a young journalist working for his magazine.
     
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