Three days after allegations of harassment surfaced against the secretary of the Trivandrum Press Club, the association today asked him to step down from the position and suspended his primary membership in view of the case. Earlier in the day, journalists from various media organisations had taken out a march from the Kerala Secretariat to the Trivandrum Press Club building to demand action against him.
M Radhakrishnan was arrested on Friday, after a woman colleague filed a complaint against him for allegedly barging into her house and misbehaving with her in front of her two children. According to the complainant, he was angry that a male friend had visited her at a late hour.
Although the accused is now out on bail, protesters - including several women journalists - demanded his suspension from the post of Trivandrum Press Club secretary pending inquiry. He was suspended by his media organisation last week.
Prominent journalist-cum-writer BRP Bhaskar had earlier relinquished his honorary membership of the Trivandrum Press Club to protest the delay in taking action against him. "I know Radhakrishnan is an elected office-bearer, but people elected to higher offices have also been forced out on moral grounds," he said in an e-mail to the journalists' organisation.
Mr Bhaskar claimed that while M Radhakrishnan was entitled to a fair probe, his stepping down from the post until his name was cleared was unlikely to affect the investigation. "I wish to relinquish my honorary membership of the club in solidarity with the women journalists who are fighting for a healthy living and working environment," he added.
Senior journalist Geeta Nazir claimed that while media organisations expect their employees to write reports demanding action against individuals accused in criminal cases, there is hesitancy in applying the same standards to themselves. "We journalists write articles demanding the suspension and resignation of accused pending inquiry. But when it comes to our own media organisations, no action is taken. As serious allegations have been made against the Press Club secretary, he has to be removed or suspended. There is no other way out," she said.