An Indian court ruled in favor of a journalist who was prosecuted for defamation after she accused a former minister of sexual harassment. This is one of the first and prominent developments in the country. This news story appeared on CNN’s page, and you can read the original here.
Journalist Priya Ramani first made the allegations in a 2017 Indian Vogue magazine article in which she recounted, how she had been harassed in the workplace during an interview with an unnamed editor in a Mumbai hotel room.
Years later, she identified the editor as MJ Akbar, a former journalist who was a junior Foreign minister at the time.
He denied the allegations, resigned from his position and sued Ramani for defamation, exactly one week after she publicly identified him.
On Wednesday – more than two years after the lawsuit was first filed – the court ruled in Ramani’s favor, dismissing all charges against her. “Despite how respected some people are in society, they can be extremely cruel to women in their personal lives,” Pandey wrote in his ruling. “It is time for our society to recognize the existence of sexual violence and sexual harassment and its effects on victims”.
“A woman cannot be punished for speaking out against sexual assault under the guise of criminal libel charges, as protecting her good name is not comparable to the natural rights to life and dignity of a woman guaranteed by the Indian Constitution,” he added.
Ramani and her supporters celebrated the decision, praising it as a step forward for all women in India. “I can’t stop smiling today,” Ramani said in a statement sent to CNN by her lawyer. “This case wasn’t about me, it was about what women face in the workplace. My victory belongs to everyone who spoke during the #metoo movement “.