The Wire must desist from providing a platform for those accused of sexual harassment

The Network of Women in Media, India, condemns the decision of The Wire to allow Vinod Dua, against whom sexual harassment accusations have been levelled, to use his show ‘Jan Gan Man Ki Baat: Rafale Deal and Rising Fuel Prices’ to malign the #METoo movement and mock the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him as ‘muck’.

In the first video that was uploaded on Tuesday, October 16, Vinod Dua said the media was not asking the government questions on ‘real issues’, and was instead preoccupied with stories of “who sexually harassed whom how many years ago”.

With growing condemnation of Vinod Dua’s conduct on his programme, the video was edited to remove his introductory statement mocking the #MeToo movement. However, in the edited version, Dua concludes (at 10:09) by defending himself saying that the allegations (“muck”) against him are not of “sexual harassment” but of hassling or troubling someone.

Filmmaker Nishtha Jain had, on Facebook, accused Vinod Dua of making lewd jokes, demeaning her during a job interview and trying to stalk and grab her on her way home after she had got another job.

It is odd, to say the least, that while The Wire has said it will be constituting an external committee to look at the allegations dispassionately, Dua has been allowed to use The Wire as a platform to arrogantly dismiss the allegations, call them a figment of someone’s imagination and pronounce himself innocent, while setting a time limit of a week for any investigation.

NWMI stands in absolute solidarity with all the women who have chosen to speak out, knowing fully the disruption and negative attention that this would bring into their lives.

This is a watershed moment for all of us in journalism.

We, at NWMI, urge The Wire to not indulge in shaming the victim. The complainant should be given sufficient time to make her complaint and present her case to The Wire‘s external committee. In the meantime, The Wire should desist from allowing the accused its platform to belittle her allegations.