#MeToo: MJ Akbar sues journalist for defamation

#MeToo: MJ Akbar sues journalist for defamation

The Patiala House Court has stated that it has listed the hearing of Union Minister MJ Akbar's defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani on October 18.

As he is now part of the External Affairs ministry, questions were directed at the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj regarding the allegation against MJ Akbar.

On Sunday, Akbar had released a statement denying the allegations and saying he would take "appropriate legal action".

In the lengthy statement, the minister has specifically replied to allegations made by women journalists. "These testimonies have emerged as a outcome of a slow but increasing empowerment of women over the years and a #MeToo movement unfolding across social media in India". They also have often cited their failed efforts to get justice through regular channels. In the column titled "defamatory imputations" in the complaint was Ramani's entire article. But they say their concerns were repeatedly dismissed or trivialized by colleagues and that "due process" in India has broken down.

We the undersigned journalist organisations have been deeply concerned over the overwhelming complaints of sexual harassment in the media.

Sexual harassment at the workplace is a pervasive phenomenon.

In this episode, we'll hear from other women driving the #MeToo movement in India.

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M J Akbar had filed a criminal defamation suit against Priya Ramani for levelling allegations of sexual harassment.

It set off a roaring debate on social media, and a thread on Twitter became a forum for #MeToo stories from various fields, sparing no one - film personalities, writers, journalists and entertainers.

The advocate said that woman journalist had mentioned incidents which allegedly occurred 20 years ago and she had simultaneously admitted that Akbar had not done anything to her.

Harinder Baweja, another woman who named Akbar as her abuser, tweeted his argument is "insane". "I could not reply earlier as I was on an official tour overseas", he said in a statement issued shortly after arriving in New Delhi. While some alleged that he would call them to his hotel rooms for 'job interviews, ' others accused him of sexually attacking them inside his personal office space. I don't think it's wrong if they're coming out after a long time.

The allegations had led to speculation about Akbar's possible resignation until he said yesterday that he would contest the allegation. "Men who are in positions of power often do this", said Maneka Gandhi, minister for women and child development, speaking to television news channel India Today. Party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said that the government had to decide whether to keep the minister or not. He called the allegations false, fabricated, wild and baseless, and "spiced up by innuendo".

Some activists argue that the defamation cases could provide an opportunity for women to prove their allegations in court. If it is an intimidation ploy, it hasn't worked, for women journalists across the country have moved in support of Ramani.

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