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New Delhi Correspondent
The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Wednesday suspended the membership of journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar and former Tehelka magazine editor Tarun Tejpal over charges of sexual misconduct levelled against them by several women journalists.
In a statement, the Guild said that it had sought the views of its Executive Committee (EC) on what action should be taken against M.J. Akbar, a dormant member at present, and one of its past presidents, Tarun Tejpal and Gautam Adhikari in light of the charges of sexual misconduct levelled against them by several women journalists. Mr Akbar’s lawyer‘s response to the Guild’s show-cause notice was also shared with the EC.
A majority of the EC members suggested that the membership of Akbar be suspended. There was also consensus that Tejpal be suspended too until the conclusion of his trial and the Guild should write to Adhikari to seek his response, the statement said.
“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 Mr Akbar should be suspended from the Guild till such time that the court case he has filed is concluded. Using the same logic, the Office-bearers decided that Mr Tejpal too should be suspended from the Guild,” it said.
“For Mr Adhikari, the office-bearers decided that the Guild will write to him seeking a formal response to the charges against him,” according to the statement.
The Guild had earlier asked Akbar, who resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs on October 17 in the wake of the allegations against him, 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 movement in India.
Ramani was the first scribe to name Akbar on October 8 and later several other allegations of sexual harassment came to the fore against the former “Asian Age” newspaper editor.
In a statement earlier, the Guild said it salutes the courage shown by several women journalists in coming forth with the 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,” it had said.