Journalist body condemns sexual assault by Tehelka founder Tejpal

New Delhi, Nov.21 : The Press Club of India on Thursday condemned the recent incident of sexual assault involving Tehelka magazine editor Tarun Tejpal, and said that this is a disgrace on the name of Indian journalism, which has many shortcomings, but making the work place unsafe for women was not supposed to be one of them.

In a statement issued, the Press Club of India hoped that the shocking happening at Tehelka would not deter women from wanting to become journalists.

"For some years, women in large numbers have entered this profession, and have shone in it. We have every confidence they will not be browbeaten by a shameful episode such as the one that has come to pass at Tehelka," it said.

"We stand by the victim Tejpal preyed on and whose bodily integrity he disgracefully invaded. Along with the wider community of journalists, the Press Club of India will respect and support any decision she may take in this matter," it added.

The journalist body demanded the criminal justice system to take suo motu notice of this, and added that it is a violation of criminal law, whether or not the victim files a complaint with the police.

It further said that the compact between editors and their journalist colleagues to maintain a healthy, non-discriminatory, and gender-wise equal and respectful working environment is critical to the growth and practice of journalism in the country.

"This must not be permitted to be breached. It is to be regretted that the editorial leadership at Tehelka has shown insufficient appreciation of this," the statement said.

"We call upon the authorities to act with alacrity in this matter and urge all journalists and civil society entities to protest what has happened and express solidarity with the young victim,' it added.

Tejpal, on Wednesday, sent a letter to Shoma Chaudhary, saying that he was stepping aside from his job for six months, and was squarely to be blamed for the sexual misconduct incident.

He further said that it was a bad lapse of judgment on his part, and that he had completely misread the situation.

He said that he has apologised unconditionally to the concerned journalist, but felt that he needed to atone for his misconduct further.

Tejpal, who is a founder member of the Tehelka magazine, said that he was stepping aside as an act of penance.

--ANI (Posted on 22-11-2013)

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