News / Asia

Top Indian Journalist Embroiled in Sex Scandal, Sparks Debate

FILE - Tarun Tejpal, editor in chief Tehelka.com, talks to the media, Mar. 13, 2001.
FILE - Tarun Tejpal, editor in chief Tehelka.com, talks to the media, Mar. 13, 2001.
Reuters
The editor-in-chief of one of India's leading investigative magazines faced flak from activists and politicians on Friday following allegations of sexually assaulting a female colleague.
 
Tarun Tejpal, founder of the award-winning weekly magazine, Tehelka - known for exposing corruption and human rights issues - confessed in a leaked email that “a bad lapse of judgment” and “an awful reading of the situation” had led to an “unfortunate incident.”
 
According to reports, the victim said she was assaulted twice by Tejpal over a period of two days in a hotel elevator during a conference in the coastal state of Goa earlier this month.
 
The Tehelka case has sparked widespread debate within the Indian media and on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter about the silence that surrounds sexual harassment and assault in the country's workplaces.
 
Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar, a member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), said that Tehelka's response to the case has been disappointing and that the setting up of an internal probe committee under pressure is too little, too late.
 
“Shoma Chaudhury has said that an investigative committee would be set up, but I think this is too late. This should have been done earlier when the complainant demanded it. The magazine's response to the case earlier was disappointing. The women's commission has directed the Goa police to take up the matter because there is a confession from the accused,” said Prabhavalkar.
 
The alleged victim has not made an official complaint to the police, but local authorities in Goa said they had ordered an inquiry and were trying to contact her for a statement.
 
Tejpal is a veteran journalist and novelist with a career spanning over 25 years. In 2001, Asiaweek listed him as one of Asia's 50 most powerful communicators, while in 2007, The Guardian named him among the 20 who constitute India's new elite. In 2009, BusinessWeek said he was one of 50 most powerful Indians.
 
Meanwhile, the leader of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nalin Kohli, questioned Tejpal's arrangement of stepping down from his editorship for six months as penance.
 
“Arun Jaitley has written a very telling piece on the entire issue. He is correct in asking the question that can an adjustment or an arrangement between the editor and the managing editor rub out the criminality of the act here. This amounts to rape or definitely assault. Can the provisions of the Indian penal code not apply?” asked Kohli.
 
Despite India's economic liberalization, which began more than two decades ago and brought with it more progressive ideas of gender equality and empowerment, women continue to face a barrage of threats due to deeply-entrenched patriarchal attitudes, women's rights activists say.
 
Working women are routinely exposed to sexual harassment by colleagues, managers or their employers, yet few report such cases fearing the loss of their jobs or, in some cases, persecution for speaking out against those more powerful.
 
The government passed a law in March aimed at tackling unwelcome behavior such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and innuendos made at work.
 
However, activists say few organizations have set up the grievance committees stipulated by the law. These committees, it is hoped, would provide a safe and sensitive place for women to come forward to report cases and hold perpetrators accountable.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs