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71 journalists killed in 2015: PEC report

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Geneva: A total of 71 journalists were killed from January to June of 2015 in 24 countries, a 7 percent increase over the same period last year, a Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) report said.

At least 24 journalists were killed in targeted terrorist acts, mostly in France, Libya and Iraq, and 17 journalists died covering fighting in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and Ukraine.

The other 30 journalists were murdered in criminal acts outside war zones, especially in Latin America, the Philippines and India, the report said.

According to the report, the Middle East and North Africa are the deadliest regions for media work with 23 journalists killed, Xinhua reported.

“Four countries in this region are the deadliest: Libya (eight), Yemen (six), Iraq (six) and Syria (two) and Gaza (one),” the report said.

It said fewer and fewer journalists were taking the risk to cover Syria because of the extreme dangers.

Latin America follows the Middle East with 17 journalists killed in seven countries, especially in Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

According to the report, Europe comes in the third place with 13 deaths. It is the first time Europe lost so many journalists since the war in ex-Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

Eight journalists were killed during the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris, and four others in Ukraine, while one more journalist was killed in an isolated crime in Poland.

Africa is in fourth place with nine journalists killed mainly due to the war in South Sudan where six journalists died, five of them ambushed together.

In an earlier report, PEC said 2014 had become the second deadliest year for journalists over 10 years, with at least 138 journalists killed by the end of the year.

Founded in June 2004 and based in Geneva, PEC says it aims to strengthen the legal protection and safety of journalists in zones of conflict and civil unrest or in dangerous missions.

(IANS)

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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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Star ICC
#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)