Editors Guild asks MJ Akbar to withdraw case against journalist

Editors Guild asks MJ Akbar to withdraw case against journalist

Minister of State for External Affairs Mobashar Jawed Akbar walks inside his residence in New Delhi, October 14, 2018.

Mr Akbar resigned earlier in the day succumbing to the vast pressure following charges of sexual harassment against him by about 20 women journalists in 1990s when Mr Akbar was the Editor in chief of the newspaper "Asian Age".

Akbar had alleged political reasons behind the allegations against him, pointing that they came ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

After Ms Ramani named him, more women posted their stories against MJ Akbar.

"The Court, taking cognizance of the complaint has set the next date for pre-summoning and examining of the complainant and his witnesses on October 31".

Akbar was a prominent editor who founded several publications including the Asian Age. A Delhi court hearing the case agreed that there is merit in the arguments and a defamation case can be heard. The resignation of Mr M. J Akbar from union council of ministers is a result of these women journalists' courage to fight for a high principle: gender equality in the newsroom.

Akbar then filed a defamation case against Ramani and released a statement in which he questioned his accusers' motives.

Priya Ramani revealed this month that a 2017 article she'd written about an unnamed editor's predatory behaviour was in fact about MJ Akbar.

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Reacting to Akbar's resignation, AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey said the action was "not sufficient" and demanded criminal proceedings against him.

On Wednesday, Akbar resigned as minister of state for external affairs following a spate of accusations of sexual misconduct levelled by several women against him.

Following a volley of allegations, the Editor-turned-politician, who has changed parties from the Congress to the BJP, said he had resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs on Wednesday to fight the case in his "personal capacity".

"Since I have chose to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity, I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations against me", Akbar said in a statement.

It is also a vindication of the Congress party's unequivocal stand on the #MeToo movement, she said. "Tweets are defamatory unless Ramani proves anything", Luthra said.

Twenty female journalists who had worked under Akbar have rallied behind Ramani following Akbar's defamation suit by writing a letter to the court asking it to consider their testimonies.

In India's deeply conservative society, the #MeToo movement began belatedly but has picked up steam in recent weeks.

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