M J Akbar should step down: Journalist associations

“We are also deeply disappointed at the statement issued by M J Akbar, Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, wherein he has threatened legal action against all those who have alleged they were harassed by him,” the statement said.

Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association, South Asian Women in the Media on Monday said that journalist organisations have been deeply concerned over the overwhelming complaints of sexual harassment in the media. 

In a joint statement e-mailed to Greater Kashmir  they said, “ We recognize that sexual harassment at the workplace is a worrisome reality and that media organisations and managements have been unable to put the systems in place which would have ordinarily addressed complaints of sexual harassment.”

“We are also deeply disappointed at the statement issued by M J Akbar, Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs, wherein he has threatened legal action against all those who have alleged they were harassed by him,” the statement said.

It said, “Akbar is a senior functionary of the government and his response should reflect the responsibility that is thus bestowed on him. There can be no dispute about the need for an impartial probe into all the complaints without fear of threat or intimidation to the complainants – and this acquires particular significance if one of the accused is an influential minister in the government. In the interests of a fair probe, moral and public propriety, it would only be appropriate for the Minister to step down from his post till such time as the inquiry is completed. We are disappointed that Akbar did not choose to take this step instead of threatening the complainants with legal action.”

These organisations demanded impartial probe into all the complaints without fear of threat or intimidation to the complainants more so as the accused party is an “influential” minister in the present government.