Media Release: India
April 4, 2013
IFJ Demands Justice for Journalist Victimised after Filing
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”.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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