Editor’s Guild appeals to Akbar to withdraw the defamation case

Guild appeals to eminent lawyers to represent the complainants’ pro bono if need be.

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The Editors Guild of India today praised the courage shown by women journalists in the fight for gender equality in the newsroom. The Guild pledged to provide them with legal advice and assistance, when and if required. The Guild’s statement comes after the resignation of Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar.

Mr Akbar, in the past two weeks, has been accused of sexual harassment by as many as 15 former journalist colleagues during his previous role as editor.

The Guild expressed hope that Mr Akbar will withdraw the defamation case he filed against one of these complainants. “It would be paradoxical for a veteran editor to employ the instrument of criminal defamation”, said Guild.

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In a statement, the Guild said: The Editors Guild of India salutes the courage shown by several women journalists in bringing to light instances of how they were sexually harassed. The resignation of Mr M. J Akbar from union council of ministers is a result of these women journalists’ courage to fight for 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. While Mr Akbar is entitled to all legal instruments available to a citizen to seek vindication, it would be paradoxical for a veteran editor to employ the instrument of criminal defamation. More so for Mr Akbar who happens to be a former president of the Guild.

But if he doesn’t, or in case he files such cases against other women too, the Guild offers its support to them. If any of them were to need legal advice or assistance, the Guild will do the best it can to help and also appeal to eminent lawyers to represent them free for public service.

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Editor's Guild appeals to Akbar to withdraw the defamation case
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Editor's Guild appeals to Akbar to withdraw the defamation case
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Guild appeals to eminent lawyers to represent the complainants’ pro bono if need be.
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The Policy Times
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