#Metoo – This time from newsrooms

Chennai: “He would not run my prompter properly, if I don’t text him back,” says a news anchor who works with a private news channel in the city.

A strong comeback of #metoo movement, this time talks about the harassment happening in and around newsrooms by journalists.

When News Today spoke with some of the women reporters and editors, they shared their horrible experiences in newsrooms.

DO NOT STARE.

News anchor Aditi, who worked in a TV news channel, said, “A man who runs the prompter got my number to share some news items. Slowly, he started texting me. He would call me to cinema or coffee shop. When I fail to text him back, the next day he would not run the prompter properly that would make news reading difficult. The way he stares at news anchors while they wear their mikes will also irk me a lot. Even though I complained to my senior staff, no proper action was taken against him.”

“THEY MAKE IT UNCOMFORTABLE”

Another news reporter, who works for the print media, says,”I had trouble with a photographer. Every time, I had to find a reason to escape from him because he would insist we go elsewhere alone after our assignments. Even after I told him straightaway that I would not go out with him, he tortured me through social media and, sometimes, I felt uncomfortable to go for assignments with him. I think it is the duty of senior editors/officials to see if their employees are decent when it comes to working with the opposite sex.”

HOW 2ND INNINGS STARTED

The second innings of #metoo movement started off with actress Tanushree Dutta opening up about actor Nana Patekar on how he sexually harassed her some 10 years ago.

While many asked why she did not open about it earlier on, many actresses stood by her and raised their voice for her.

Following this, Kangana Ranaut claimed that the 2014 Bollywood flick, Queen‘s producer and former co-founder of Phantom Films, Vikas Bahl would hug Kangana tightly and say “I love the way you smell K.”

Another woman worker from the same production house, too, claimed that the producer would put his hands at her back.

Closer home, recently, singer Chinmayi Sripada joined them and shared her ‘nightmarish’ experiences on how she was sexually harassed during her teenage by a ‘priest-like’ man.

FAMILY BACKING MUST

Talking about this, a senior editor, who is a journalist for over two decades, says,”I always worked in a safe environment. Even though I won’t say men have not hit upon me. Wherever you go, ‘men are men’. But I was not sexually harassed. Not only in journalism, in any field, I would say, family backing is really important. Some days, my male colleagues would ask if they can drop me home. I won’t reject the offer. Instead, I would immediately accept it and when he drops me at my home, I would take him inside and introduce him to my father, mother, brother and my whole family. That would be the last time he would offer to drop me home. I owe my thanks to my supporting family. I am sure family backing will definitely keep men at least wary of you.”

“I would easily filter men by their behaviour toward me after I introduce them to my family. It will be clearly known that the ones who maintain friendship normally after this ‘family phase’ have good intentions and others don’t,” she says.

DOUBLE-MEANING JOKES, DELICATE SITUATION

A script writer, who works with a private television channel, says,”It all starts with double-meaning jokes. We write script for a show and we have to sit and discuss the content. This is when the crackings of sex jokes begins. They try to get close to us with this. We will be in a totally delicate position at such times.”

The same allegations are levelled by cinema journalists, too.

P T Usha