The Editors Guild of India (EGI) Thursday suspended the membership of journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar and former Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal over allegations of sexual misconduct. Tejpal is facing trial in a rape case.
“Office-bearers of the Guild discussed the EC’s comments and took the decision on the matter. It has concurred with the majority view that Akbar should be suspended from the Guild till such time that the court case he has filed is concluded,” reads the statement.
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) December 12, 2018
The Guild had previously asked Akbar to withdraw the criminal defamation case he had filed against journalist Priya Ramani as the top editors’ body came out in support of the women journalists who have accused him of sexual harassment following the MeToo wave.
Ramani was the first to name Akbar in a Twitter post on October 8, revealing that an article she had written last year about an editor inviting her to his hotel room for a job interview and asking her to sit on the bed with him was Akbar. Following this, multiple allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against the former editor.
On October 17, Akbar had stepped down as a junior foreign minister following a flurry of allegations made against him by at least 15 women, who accused him of sexual misconduct during his stint as the editor of The Asian Age.
In a statement earlier, the Guild said it salutes the courage shown by several women journalists in bringing to light instances of how they were sexually harassed. “The resignation of Mr MJ Akbar from Union council of ministers is a result of these women journalists’ courage to fight for a high principle: gender equality in the newsroom. We hope that Mr Akbar will also display the grace to withdraw the criminal defamation case he has filed against one of these complainants,” it had said.