IFJ Demands Justice for Journalist Dismissed after Filing Harassment Complaint



Media Release: India                                                                                       

April 4, 2013         


IFJ Demands Justice for Journalist Victimised after Filing

Harassment Complaint


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins

partners and affiliates in demanding justice and fair treatment for S. Akila, a

journalist placed under suspension by the Sun TV news channel based in the

southern Indian city of Chennai, after she filed sexual harassment complaints

against two of her seniors in the organisation.


According to information provided by the Network of

Women in Media, India, Akila joined Sun TV in its Chennai headquarters in

December 2011 as a news anchor and producer and faced, from that moment on, extraordinary

pressures on the job. Two of her immediate seniors were reportedly explicit in

the demands she would be expected to fulfill.


Refusal to comply led to Akila’s probation being

extended, her earned perks – such as the annual bonus – being denied, and

finally, to her being threatened with “dire consequences” if she went public

with the situation she faced. Despite a time-honoured convention that women

would not be put on shifts at odd times of the 24x7 news cycle, she was soon assigned

as anchor for the 6 a.m. news bulletin, requiring her to report at work an hour



After repeated protests failed to fetch any relief, Akila

on 19 March, filed a complaint of sexual harassment with the nearest police

station. Her two immediate seniors, both named in the complaint, were soon

afterwards arrested and charged under the relevant law applicable in the state

of Tamil Nadu.


Akila reportedly began receiving threatening telephone

calls afterwards. A male colleague who had supported her struggle against

harassment was soon afterwards placed under suspension. On 25 March, Akila

reported for work at her appointed time but was not allowed to anchor the noon

news bulletin she was assigned to. A day later, one of the men named in her

complaint rejoined Sun TV after securing bail.


Akila was served an order of suspension the following



“We are shocked at this sequence of events in one of

India’s largest and most diversified media conglomerates”, said the IFJ



“The IFJ demands a quick and impartial inquiry into

the entire range of circumstances leading to Akila’s dismissal from her job and

prompt restitution for the mental trauma she has suffered.


“The news organisation that has permitted this manner

of exploitative culture to flourish should without further delay, hold out

reassurances to all its female employees and institute strict sanctions against

any further recurrence of such behaviour”.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950



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