*Dear Justice Katju and members of the Press Council of India,*
The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) is shocked and upset about the
reported gang-rape of a woman journalist in Mirzapur district of Uttar
Pradesh on Thursday. The journalist was reportedly abducted by three
persons after she had visited the Ashtabhuja temple to do a story on
historic temples of the Vidyachal region.
The NWMI would like to express support and solidarity to the colleague who
suffered abduction and assault in the course of her work. We call upon her
employer to extend both moral support and practical assistance, including
help in pursuing the legal case, to her.
The incident exposes the extreme lack of security of women professionals on
assignment as well as the general lack of safety for women in the state
and, indeed, the country. The NWMI is deeply concerned about the
increasing incidents of attacks on journalists in general, and of assault
and molestation of women media professionals in particular. The network had
sent a detailed note on the subject to the Press Council of India after the
gang-rape of a female media professional in Mumbai in August 2013 (
It appears that, in the latest case, the police has acted on the complaint
and arrested one of the accused. The other two are absconding. The NWMI
urges the Uttar Pradesh police to leave no stone unturned to find the
accused still at large and bring them to book as speedily as possible.
According to reports, the journalist was associated with a Hindi newspaper
in Haridwar in Uttarakhand and had gone to Vidyachal to do a story on
historic temples in the area. She had visited the Ashtabhuja temple in
connection with her work. After finishing her research into the temple
around 8 pm, she had proceeded towards the Allahabad-Mirzapur highway to
take an auto when she was abducted by three persons.
The NWMI demands that investigations be conducted without delay and in
keeping with the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, relating to sexual
violence, and that the complainant be treated with due respect and
The NWMI also urges the media to exercise ethical responsibility in
reporting the incident, keeping in mind the law as well as existing
professional codes of conduct such as those issued by the Press Council of
India and the News Broadcasters’ Association.
The NWMI also calls upon all news organisations to take measures to ensure
the safety and security of all media-persons on assignment.
*Rajashri Dasgupta, Kolkata, Ammu Joseph, Bangalore, Sameera Khan, Mumbai,
Laxmi Murthy, Bangalore, Kalpana Sharma, Mumbai, Sandhya Taksale, Pune*
*Working Council, NWMI*
*March 29, 2014*