Tuesday July 23, 2019
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This is What Amitabh Bachchan has to Say against Women Harassment

Amitabh Bachchan speaks in support of Women.

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan.wikimedia commons
  • Big B comments on the crime against women.

Society doesn’t like women who confront tormentors says, Amitabh Bachchan

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan rues how patriarchal mindsets still dominate most part of India, where the society has not allowed women to freely use the fundamental right of legal recourse in cases of harassment.

“Many crimes against women go unreported because women are scared to go to the police station, where they may face further harassment. Legal recourse is the fundamental right of every citizen and women have been denied that right because society does not like a woman who confronts her tormentors,” Amitabh, 75, has penned in a foreword for “Pink: The Inside Story” (HarperCollins/226 pp/Rs 299).

The book, by film historian Gautam Chintamani, chronicles the making, impact and script of “Pink”, which bagged the National Award for Best Film on Social Issues for provoking discussions on crimes against women.

Amitabh’s statement fits in a pertinent way as far as the current scenario in the global entertainment industry is concerned.

After multiple women stood up and raised their voice against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment and rape, more women have spoken out about their experiences with filmmaker James Toback and even actors Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman.

“Women today are more educated and financially more secure; they are ambitious and assertive; and yet, there seems to be no end to the atrocities perpetrated against women. You just have to pick up the newspaper every morning to know this,” Amitabh Bachchan writes.

He says he himself chose to feature in a film like “Pink” (2016) — which highlighted how “no means no” — because “as an older member of the industry, I felt there needed to be a change in my engagement with my profession”.

In the film, he essays Deepak Sehgal, a lawyer who fights in favor of three girls and makes valid arguments to highlight the issue of consent and a woman’s right to say no.

Big B says in the book that his relationship with the three girls reminds him of his own bond with his granddaughters.

“It’s important to me that they grow up in a society that offers them the necessary protections and privileges.”(IANS)

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Female Journalists Face Online, Workplace Harassment

At a recent Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, a panel discussed some of those threats and why it's important to find solutions

female journalists, harassment
A screen at the Global Conference for Media Freedom shows tweets by female journalists about the dangers they face on the job. VOA

The number of journalists killed in 2018 because of their work nearly doubled compared to 2017, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. In all, 88 journalists and media workers died on the job, because they were targeted for their reporting or were working in hazardous environments.

Female journalists face the same dangers as their male counterparts when working on an assignment; but, women journalists face other threats that don’t affect men to nearly the same degree.

At a recent Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, a panel discussed some of those threats and why it’s important to find solutions.

Nadine Hoffman, deputy director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, said that in a survey of 600 female journalists last year, more than two-thirds said they had experienced online harassment. She said those attacks are often sexual and misogynistic in nature.

“If you’re a woman and you assert yourself in the online space, men will attack you,” Hoffman said, noting that female politicians often experience the same kind of harassment.

female journalists
FILE – Lebanese protesters carry posters of prominent anti-Syrian news anchor May Chidiac, who was seriously wounded by a car bomb, during a sit-in at Martyrs square in Beirut, Sept. 26, 2005. VOA

‘There must be laws’

May Chidiac, the Lebanese minister of state for administrative development, survived a 2005 car bombing while she worked as a television journalist. The assassination attempt was part of a series of bombings targeting journalists and politicians who were critical of Syria.

Chidiac said that online harassment is a serious threat to women. She said more must be done to protect journalists targeted by those attacks and to prosecute the perpetrators.

“Personally, I never considered myself different from a male journalist,” she said. “But when it comes to online harassment, believe me, there is a big difference between men and women.”

She said in addition to sending vulgar material and comments, critics sometimes publicly post personal details, like a woman’s address or telephone number — an attack called “doxing” — putting her personal safety at risk.

“These are things that must not go unpunished,” she said. “There must be laws to, in one way or another, protect women from such aggression and harassment.”

harassment, female journalists
Hoffman said that it’s important to not dismiss such harassment as a workplace or human resources issue. Instead, she said it must be treated as a safety issue. Wikimedia Commons

Harassment by colleagues

Hoffman noted that one-third of the 2018 survey respondents said they considered leaving their newsroom because of such harassment. She added that another threat to women comes from within newsrooms: sexual harassment by colleagues.

Hoffman said that it’s important to not dismiss such harassment as a workplace or human resources issue. Instead, she said it must be treated as a safety issue.

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Hoffman said these threats are not taken as seriously as the dangers of reporting from hazardous locations or being targeted because of coverage of an organization or issue. But she warned that if these issues are not addressed, the impact goes beyond the individuals who leave the industry out of frustration or concern for their safety.

“Sexual harassment is a safety issue,” she said. “Online harassment does have offline implications,” she added. “Without women’s voices, we cannot have truly democratic societies and a free press.” (VOA)