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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid