Even After #MeToo Movement, Editors Guild Keeps Accused MJ Akbar, Tarun Tejpal

The list has sparked an outrage.

In the times when the Indian media is having its own #MeToo movement, the Editors Guild of India released a shocking list of its members which features MJ Akbar, Tarun Tejpal and Gautam Adhikari, all accused of sexual harassment at their respective workplaces.

Editors Guild, a non-partisan association of editorial leaders which calls itself a ‘conscience keeper’, released the list on Friday, and sparked an outrage.

The list includes three men who have been accused of sexually harassing female colleagues in the workplace. MJ Akbar, a senior journalist as well as the former Minister of State for External Affairs has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 20 female journalists. He later had to resign following the allegations which surfaced last month. He, however, has denied all the allegations and has filed a defamation case against Priya Ramani, who was one of the first journalists to name him.

Last month, former DNA Editor-in-Chief Gautam Adhikari was accused of sexual harassment by two female journalists who accused him of forcibly kissing them on two separate occasions.

In November 2013, Tarun Tejpal, former editor of Tehelka magazine, was accused of sexually assaulting a colleague in the elevator of the Grand Hyatt in Panaji. He was later charged with rape, sexual harassment and wrongful restraint to which he pleaded not guilty in a trial court in Goa.

Interestingly, Editors Guild, which is headed by veteran journalist Shekhar Gupta, issued a statement last month asking media organisations to conduct unbiased inquiries in the wake of #MeToo allegations. It also asked Akbar to withdraw defamation charges against Ramani. “We hope that Mr Akbar will also display the grace to withdraw the criminal defamation case he has filed against one of these complainants. While Mr Akbar is entitled to all legal instruments available to a citizen to seek vindication, it would be paradoxical for a veteran editor to employ the instrument of criminal defamation. More so for Mr Akbar who happens to be a former president of the Guild,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the list has invited outrage on social media and by journalists: