MeToo in India: Zero tolerance for sexual harassment of journalists, says office of UNGA president Maria Fernanda Espinosa

United Nations: General Assembly (UNGA)  President Maria Fernanda Espinosa very firmly believes that there should be zero tolerance for sexual harassment of journalists, her spokesperson Monica Grayley has said in answer to a question about the Me Too movement sweeping across India’s media world.

File photo of UNGA president Maria Fernanda Espinosa. Reuters

File photo of UNGA president Maria Fernanda Espinosa. Reuters

She said on Thursday at her daily briefing that Espinosa “made it very clear that there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, and, of course, since we are talking about the members of the press and journalists, there is also zero tolerance for journalists to be harassed or to be impeded doing their job. She is very firm on this.”

She was asked by a reporter if Espinosa wanted to show her “solidarity in any way” with the Indian women journalists who have protested alleged sexual harassment by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar and editors and fellow journalists.

Grayley said, “When you take a stance against sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, or harassment of any kind, and to harassment of members of the press you are not talking of a specific area of the world, you are talking about it in universal terms. So it is zero tolerance and zero is zero, it is not zero plus one or minus one. It is zero.”

Six women journalists have accused Akbar of harassing them when he was himself a journalist and served as the top editor at several magazines and newspapers before he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was made a minister.

He has also been a Congress Party member of parliament and spokesperson. Several senior journalists and editors are also facing the wrath of the Me Too from fellow journalists.

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