New Delhi: The Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) termed Thursday the acquittal of journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation case filed against her by former minister MJ Akbar as vindication of women journalists who have forever protested sexual harassment and shied away from unwelcome attention in the newsroom. Priya Ramani had made allegations of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018. Akbar had filed the complaint against Ramani, October 15, 2018 for allegedly defaming him.
A Delhi court Wednesday acquitted Ramani in the case. It said a woman has the right to put grievances before any platform of her choice even after decades.
In a statement, the IWPC said it is delighted to welcome the court verdict declaring Ramani not guilty of defaming Akbar. “Priya Ramani’s courage as well as that of a key defence witness and journalist, Ghazala Wahab, in testifying against Mr Akbar has been characterised as vindication of the #MeToo movement in India, but it is much more than that,” the women’s press body said.
“It is a vindication of us women journalists, who have forever protested sexual harassment and assault and shied away from unwelcome attention in the newsroom. All we want is a safe working space, so that we can hold the outside world to account; instead, we often find that the predators are within,” it added.
The IWPC further said it applauds Ramani’s determination not to give up, for breaking the silence around this issue. “Fact is, even at the height of the #Metoo movement, only 20 women journalists decided to go public about their ordeal, consumed by a misplaced sense of honour. The IWPC hopes that women journalists across the country will find the courage to emulate Priya Ramani and Ghazala Wahab. They have shown us the way,” the IWPC said.
Akbar had resigned as a Union minister on October 17, 2018. He has denied all allegations of sexual harassment of the women who came forward against him during the #MeToo campaign.