Millennium Post

Because it can’t be ‘internal matter’ anymore!

After reading the Delhi Durbar piece on the Tehelka incident in the morning, I unknowingly blurted out, ‘That is why this industry is sick!’ My senior editor countered, saying that I cannot generalise the whole industry because of this one incident. The whole world is full or perverts, so saying that the media is full of sickos is going a bit too far.  

I thought over it. And he is right. In my three-odd years in the media, I have generally met very nice people. Men have been courteous and helpful and maybe it is my luck that I have never come across a Tarun Tejpal (either closeted or otherwise). My experience, when I look around at many others in this industry, has obviously been an exceptional one.  So why did I indulge in this blatant generalisation of my own profession?

I guess the answer lies in the fact that redress in the media is more difficult to come by than in other organisation. Nepotism is rampant here; the higher the person is in the hierarchy, the more his contacts. So how do you complain against a person who is on more than friendly terms with the who’s who of the country? There have been cases when people were sacked from newspapers and media houses on complaints of sexual harassment. However, it takes a lot of guts for women to complain because of a very close-knit structure of the industry. A risk of being outcast is a very real risk here. This is the media that cried itself hoarse – and rightly – in the December 16 Delhi rape and murder incident but nicely ignoring the fact that its own employees may not be safe with their male colleagues. Pointing fingers at misconducts is the media’s job – either outside or within. Misconduct shouldn’t come with a caveat that it is ‘all right’ if it happens ‘inside’ the industry.  

It cannot be an internal matter, as Tarun Tejpal’s successor as editor of Tehelka, Shoma Chaudhary, put it. Significantly, barring an exception or two, not many Delhi dailies gave the news the space and significance it deserves. So what will the media do now? As usual seal its lips and look the other way and wait for the storm to pass? Not surprisingly, Tejpal will take a holiday for six months where he will ‘atone’ his ‘lack of judgement’, take couple of trips and be back without any shame to Business. As. Usual. The complainant might struggle to get a job in this industry. Ever. No one ought to trust the media if this is allowed.

On arrangement with Governance Now
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