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#MeToo: MJ Akbar Filing Criminal Defamation Case Against Priya Ramani Is Shameful: Twitter Reactions

Prominent journalists and media personalities, among others, tweet in support of Priya Ramani

Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar, has filed a criminal defamation case against senior journalist Priya Ramani. Last week, around a dozen women journalists had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct at the workplace during his stint as editor at Asian Age and India Today.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Akbar denied all allegations and had said that he was being targeted as part of a “political agenda”. He has now taken legal action.

Also Read: Twitter Users Find MJ Akbar’s #MeToo Defence Lame, Half-baked And Pathetic

Ramani is the first woman who publicly outed MJ Akbar. On October 8, She shared on Twitter an article she had written last year for Vogue India. Titled “To the Harvey Weinsteins of the world”, it narrates how, two decades ago, she had been invited to a hotel room for an interview, where the male superior had gone on to sexually harass her. While the article originally did not name him, she named Akbar as the perpetrator in her tweet when #MeToo revelations hit Twitter last week.

Even though over a dozen women have accused Akbar, he has chosen to file a case only against Ramani, which is being seen as an intimidation tactic to keep other women from speaking up as well.

Also Read: #MeToo: MJ Akbar’s Case Against Priya Ramani Is A Shameful Attempt At Scaring Not Only Her, But Countless Other Women

Lawyers and journalists took to Twitter to express solidarity with Ramani. Some even pointed out that India needs to do away with its outdated criminal defamation law that is often misused to silence and suppress dissent.

After Ramani spoke up, a dozen other women journalists recounted their tales of being harassed by MJ Akbar. Senior journalist and author Ghazala Wahab wrote in The Wire how Akbar had sexually harassed and molested her when she worked under him at The Asian Age in 1997.

CNN journalist Majlie de Puy Kamp has also come forward and said that Akbar harassed her in 2007, when she was 18-years-old and interning at The Asian Age. She wrote that Akbar molested her, a fact that she brought up with her father who knew Akbar. She also said that there are emails to prove the same, since her father had confronted Akbar about this.

Journalist Suparna Sharma, Resident Editor of The Asian Age, has also alleged that Akbar ‘plucked at her bra strap’ and ‘stared at her breasts.’

Other journalists who have accused Akbar include Saba Naqvi, Kanika Gahlaut and Shutapa Paul.

 

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