Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sexual harassment in Star News stuns Indian media circles

The alleged sexual harassment of a woman employee in Star News and the attempt to silence her and later coverup the entire issue, has shocked journalistic circles.

The fact that the victim Saima Sahar (probably she spells the name as Sayema) was constantly harassed, forced to drink, and two senior persons made sexual overtures on her, but her complaints were ignored and HR failed to take any action, illustrates how deep is the malaise and how the entire system works against the victim.

The culture of forcing women colleagues to go to late night parties and offering them drink and then taking liberties is not new in Delhi but in this case the complainant has showed exemplary courage by taking on the entire hierarchy that not just saves but also promotes this culture.

Sahar deserves to be congratulated for risking her job and approaching the National Commission for Women (NCW). Sadly, the Human Resources department of Star News channel tried its best to save the persons accused of harassment and took no action whatsoever.

If one goes by the emails written by Sahar, it appears how HR wing sat over her complaints and took no step despite her repeated complaints. As in most cases where victims are accused and their character questioned, here also the victim was defamed.

She was sacked from the post of Creative Sales Head recently. However, Sayema continued her fight against the two bosses National Sales Head, Gautam Sharma and Regional Head North India, Avinash Pandey.

One hopes that other media groups take a lesson from this controversy and ensure that such shameful inidents don't happen and there is an in-house mechanism that redresses complaints rather than shielding and supporting the perpetrators.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hundreds of media persons and citizens will be with Saima Seher. The character and working of HR is unfortunate. Government of India must act.

Arun Kumar said...

Oh my God!I am shell-shocked.Rakshak turning into Bhakshak!Was there no Complaint Committee in Star TV to deal with such cases of women harrassment? This is a mandatory requirement in all offices-public,private,semi-governmental.Worse,instead of taking disciplinary action against the accused,why has the Star TV sacked the poor lady.Let the Police or better still,the Hon'ble court take suo motu cognizance of this case and initiate legal proceedings against the accused.For a moment,one wonders whether the fatwa issued by Deoband is correct. Let the National Commission of women headed by Mrs Girja Vyas take note of this episode and order an inquiry by a specially constituted Committee.This is serious matter.

A K SAXENA
( A retired Joint Secretary to GOI and now a free-lance journalist)
aksaxena@nic.in

Nivedita said...

There is this general rule that journalists are supposed to follow: do not name a victim of sexual harassment. Even though this post is not a story that would be in print or shown of TV, internet is as much a public domain as any other media. Why was the name of the victim given out?

editor said...

Nivedita Ji: The rule is about victims of rape and molestation. However, when a girl is fighting the case, comes out in the open, and herself says that she is ready to fight, there is no reason to hide the name.

In fact, the girl has not done a crime that she should be shy. It should be the guys responsible for such act who should feel ashamed.

In cases of rapes also, names are concealed or changed because of our hypocritical society where marriage of girls later become difficult or where victim is seen as some sort of shady person. Ideally, it shouldn't happen.

Charu said...

How even working among well educated professionals of the media industry can still prove to be an arena for discrimination for women is shocking.
If a woman is not safe at her workplace with her colleagues, then we have to re-look at the standing of women in this society.
We have to be the voice for the millions people to PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER WOMEN in India
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Anonymous said...

Mr. Saxena.. Greetings. Really liked your coment but just want to clarify ..Mrs. Girija Vyas was over awed by the glamour of this big media house hence she decided to go wd the glamour. Star News is a spineless organisation so couldn't do anything to save the honor n dignity of its own employee though they talk about morality all the time

GHUFRAN RAGHIB said...

sahi kaha. media me bahut kuch andher ho raha hai, itna zuada ki kabhi kabhi lagta hai ki aisi media k ho ne se na hona hi behtar hai, isi liye mai to media ki bato ko sunna chod diya hai, thookte hue!

GHUFRAN RAGHIB said...

aisi media ko thookta hun.

Anonymous said...

star news logo ke pet par laat marta hai paisa kamata khush ka phir ladkiyo ke sath sexual harashment karta hai sharam ani chahiye is channel acchi khasi chalti hui company speakasia ko gurughantal bata diya aur ab ladkiyo ko pareshan kar raha hai indian gov kya kar rahi hai isko to desh se khaded dena chahiye kutte star walo tumhai croro logo ki baddua lagega

Anonymous said...

Shame on STAR... Did Sayema ever get justice? Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

No Star did nothing. Gautam left. They promoted the other gentleman many times after that instead of punishing him. He is now CEO or something like that. I have a friend who works there. This person has done worse with some other women who work under him. Only they lack courage of Saima. he never gets punished. Shame on the country and journalists of Star.

www.aksaxena.co.in said...

WHY WAS SAYEMA SEHAR SACKED BY STAR TV,REMAINS A RIDDLE TO ME INSIDE AN ENIGMA WRAPPED IN MYSTERY?
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FATE OF TWO PERPERTATORS OF CRIME?HAVE THEY BEEN MOVING AROUND SCOT FREE ? IS THIS NOT A MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE?


A K SAXENA (A retired civil servant)
www.aksaxena.co.in
blog.aksaxena.co.in
E-mail : aksaxena@nic.in

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