Statements

Statements

The Network of Women in Media in India stands in solidarity with Mumbai-based independent journalist Priyanka Borpujari, who was assaulted and detained by the Bandra-Kurla Complex police on December 26, 2017, while she was recording a slum demolition ordered by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Hans Bhugra Marg, Santa Cruz, Mumbai.

Priyanka was released only after seven hours of detention, after her statement was recorded and she was charged under several sections of the IPC, including “obstructing a government action” and “unlawful assembly”. Four other women, all residents of the slum, were also detained and charged under similar sections.    

The Network of Women in Media in India stands in solidarity with the editors of Coimbatore-based website The Covai Post who have been receiving death threats for a story on their website and condemns the harassment of Vidyashree Dharmaraj and AR Meyammai.

Over the past week, the editors of The Covai Post, Vidyashree Dharmaraj and AR Meyammai, have been at the receiving end of death threats and harassment for a story on their website, titled 'Girls in puberty stage paraded half-naked, offered to deity for a fortnight', published on September 24, 2017
To the spirit of Gauri Lankesh, you inspire us forever. To journalists everywhere, this is a note of solidarity. We the Network of Women in the Media, India solemnly swear to uphold the values of journalism. This does not and should not need to be prefaced with good. Or courageous. Or brave. We must simply power on in the face of the greatest adversity, threats and political opposition to do what our job mandates. To be free and fair and stand together solidly behind each other to be able to rise against the tidal wave of intolerance and often criminal intimidation that surrounds us and tries to prevent us everywhere. We want to declare to ourselves and to everyone that is watching with and without malice - we will not be prevented, silenced, outdone or shut down. 

NWMI wrote to the Press Council of India on the provocative headline and news report in Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar’s Surat edition relating to the recent attack on Amarnath pilgrims.  NWMI strongly condemns such reports and deplores the callous reporting and editing that produces them.  

 

The Network for Women in Media India (NWMI) strongly condemns the blatant rape culture in the entertainment industry, as evident in a recent film function and demands that strict action be taken against those indulging in verbal normalisation of / abetment to rape in the name of entertainment.

The cases are under the Official Secrets Act and abetment to suicide on Poonam Aggarwal for her February 2017 Quint video (later removed) exposing the Indian army's exploitative ‘sahayak’ system 

The Network of Women in Media, India condemns the harassment of Chennai-based independent journalist Sandhya Ravishankar following her expose on the illegal beach sand mining mafia in Tamil Nadu operating with political collusion.

The NWMI on October 15 learnt that journalist Rupesh Samant’s name was struck off the accreditation list for the BRICS Summit in Goa. While his name featured in the list submitted by PTI, the Ministry of External Affairs is believed to have instructed the PIB not to give him the accreditation card.

NWMI is shocked to hear that the Press Trust of India has applied for accreditation to Rupesh Samant, who faces investigation and judicial proceedings on charges of sexual harassment 

On August 9, 2016, NWMI wrote its second follow-up letter to PTI regarding Rupesh Samant, a journalist associated with PTI in Goa. Samant continues to write for PTI though first information reports have been registered against him for sexual harassment. 

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) is outraged at the attempt to intimidate and silence publisher Indranil Roy and editor Krishna Prasad of Outlook magazine and award-winning independent writer Neha Dixit for an important investigation into the trafficking of young girls from Assam to Gujarat and Punjab.

The Network of Women in Media, India, strongly condemns the continuing online abuse and harassment of women in general and women journalists in particular. We believe this growing phenomenon not only amounts to gender-specific hate speech but also represents an increasingly common form of gender violence and a disturbing threat to freedom of the press.

NWMI strongly condemn the shocking attack on the residence of Malini Subramaniam, a journalist based in Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh and correspondent for the news site Scroll.In. The continuous attempts to intimidate and threaten her into silence must immediately stop and those responsible must be brought to book.

NWMI wrote to India Today questioning the sensationalist headline and content of a recent newsreport on the rape of a girl aboard the Howrah-Amritsar express

The Network of Women in Media, India, would like to express solidarity with the brave radio journalists of Roshani, the all-women radio and TV station that was the voice of the city of Kunduz in Afghanistan and was destroyed by the Taliban in the early hours of September 28.

The Network of Women in Media India (NWMI) is horrified by the prolonged and traumatic sexual harassment to which the Banda team of Khabar Lahariya, a rural collective of women journalists in Uttar Pradesh, have been subjected over many months.

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) strongly condemns the government’s over-zealousness in pursuing and investigating charges of misdoing and misappropriation of funds against journalist-activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand.  

Dalvi, Editor, Mumbai edition, Awadhnama faces many cases in different Mumbai police stations and threats

“NWMI demands institutional redress of sexual harassment and assault” Recent developments at the...

The NWMI's letters to the Press Council of India and the Editors' Guild of India, and other critiques of recent media coverage of what is being referred to as "The Tarun Tejpal Tapes", have elicited responses from the authors of the controversial articles

The NWMI has sent strong letters of protest to the Press Council of India and the Editors' Guild of India about two recent articles on the Tehelka case, based on CCTV footage, which disregard the law as well as journalistic ethics.

NWMI submission to Press Council committee inquiring into the rape of woman journalist

 

NWM, Mumbai, facilitated a discussion amongst women journalists as well as male and female photojournalists in Mumbai on August 24, 2013. The meeting discussed issues related to the safety of journalists, the difficulties faced by journalists, especially freelancers, in access and permissions for stories and assignments, the ethical transgressions in coverage of sensitive issues and the need for greater gender sensitisation and training of media professionals on gender-sensitive reporting. The meeting identified specific issues that cause particular concern. 

 

1. Media coverage of gender issues, in particular sexual assault/rape

There is an urgent need for print, television and online media personnel including reporters, sub-editors, photographers, camera-persons, senior editors and photo editors to undergo training as well as refresher courses in how the media should handle the coverage of crimes against women, more specifically rape, molestation and violent sexual assault. There are legal and medical issues to comprehend, ethical dilemmas to discuss and an urgent need to understand the larger context of gender and violence. We suggest workshops to be held for media personnel by experts at regular intervals.

 

Several members of the Network of Women in Media, India, are in a position to design and conduct such workshops in different languages and parts of the country.

 

An accessible and publicised mechanism (such as an ombudsperson) to deal with complaints about media coverage should be instituted in every media house, and immediate redress should be provided for violation of media ethics and the laws of the land.

 

2. Safety on the job: The need for training modules for journalists/photographers

It is felt that there is a dire lack of safety training for journalists and for providing adequate preparation for various tasks. Media houses and media organisations need to take responsibility for safety training, not just for reporting in conflict areas, but also regular day-to-day reporting in urban and/or rural settings. This is particularly necessary while covering crowds of various kinds (mobs, protesters, participants in religious festivals/processions, political rallies/processions, etc.) and civil strife (including riots, arson and looting, etc.).This training should cover male and female journalists and photographers, full-time, part-time, interns as well as regular stringers and freelancers.

 

Training should cover ways to keep yourself safe, protect your sources (if it is a particularly sensitive story), better ways of identification (press cards etc, even for interns and freelancers), insurance, use of mobile and internet technology, GPS systems, emergency speed-dial telephone numbers, transport facilities, information on how to access helplines, police, hospitals and medical personnel.

 

Several international media organisations (such as the International News Safety Institute, the International Federation of Journalists, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists and Reporters Sans Frontieres, the Dart Centre for Journalists and Trauma) have resources that can be borrowed, modified as required to accommodate local conditions and realities, and used in such training programmes.

 

3. Harassment by policemen and private security personnel
Photographers and camerapersons, in particular, are on the frontlines of news reportage because they need to be on the spot to get visuals, often in the thick of the action, and as a result often work under immense pressure. One of the most common problems photographers face is access to spaces and sites for shooting. Though there is no law to prevent media persons from shooting on the street or in public spaces (except in notified areas), police often harass them. They can be stopped and asked for official permissions and it is often very difficult or impossible to obtain such permissions. They also face harassment from private security guards, who are now found everywhere. Women photographers face other kinds of harassment and assault when going into crowds or even when venturing into dangerous territory. If the police were more approachable and understood a media person’s job, then media personnel could possibly approach them more confidently for help when needed.

 

It would be good if the Press Council and/or other media organisations could liaise with police departments and security firms and propose workshops where police/security and media personnel could interact and learn from each other about their respective rights and duties.

 

4. Gender sensitisation within media organisations
Media organisations need to have regular and sustained gender sensitisation workshops for their staff, including interns, trainees, new entrants, sub-editors and photographers at various levels, mid-career journalists, and senior editors, too. Complaints mechanisms to tackle grievances related to gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, etc., must be put in place. With the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act and Rules now in place, this is in any case now legally mandated as well.

 

Several members of the Network of Women in Media, India, are in a position to design and conduct such workshops in different languages and parts of the country.

 

Again, there are both domestic and international resources that can be drawn upon for such workshops.

 

5. Voluntary mentorship programme
There is clearly a great need for mentoring of younger journalists -- reporters, sub-editors and photographers -- by older journalists/photographers in newsrooms and media houses. It would be ideal if Press Council or/and media organisations can formulate a scheme for such a programme.

 

Several international and, more recently, Indian organisations have expertise and experience in mentoring programmes/workshops, which can be drawn upon and modified as necessary.

Network of Women in Media-Mumbai and Network of Women in Media, India

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