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The Indian Women’s Press Corps has welcomed the court verdict declaring the former journalist Priya Ramani not guilty of defaming former Union minister  M J Akbar, whom she had accused of sexual harassment. Priya Ramani’s courage as well as that of a key defence witness and journalist, Ghazala Wahab, in testifying against Mr Akbar has been characterized as vindication of the #MeToo movement in India, but it is much more than that.
It is a vindication of us women journalists, who have forever protested sexual harassment and assault and shied away from unwelcome attention in the newsroom. All we want is a safe working space, so that we can hold the outside world to account; instead, we often find that the predators are within.
Priya Ramani went to meet the former editor M J Akbar for a job interview, as long back as in 1994. It took her till 2017 to write about it in a magazine when the #MeToo movement broke the floodgates in the US. She only named Akbar in a tweet the following year, upon which he filed a criminal case against her, accusing her of defaming him. She was now a double victim. The IWPC applauds Priya Ramani’s determination not to give up, for breaking the silence around this issue. Fact is, even at the height of the #Metoo movement, only 20 women journalists decided to go public about their ordeal, consumed by a misplaced sense of honour. The IWPC hopes that women journalists across the country will find the courage to emulate Priya Ramani and Ghazala Wahab. They have shown us the way, stated the press statement.