Coming out in support of the women journalists who have accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassment, the Editors Guild of India on Thursday asked the former Union minister to withdraw the criminal defamation case he had filed against journalist Priya Ramani.
The Guild also offered legal support to women journalists who have levelled the allegations against Akbar in case he does not withdraw the present case or files such cases against other women too.
In a statement, 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 said.
While 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, the Guild said, adding that, “more so for Mr Akbar who happens to be a former president of the Guild”.