Vikram Sharma, the Assistant Resident Editor (ARE) of the Telangana bureau of The New Indian Express has resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against his boss GS Vasu, the editor-in-chief. The email was released on Twitter by Sandhya Menon, the journalist who has been leading the #MeToo campaign in India.
I received this last night and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the courage and integrity shown here.
— Sandhya Menon (@TheRestlessQuil) December 5, 2018
Asserting that he could not bring himself to work under someone who has been accused of sexual misconduct and was, therefore, offering his resignation, Sharma wrote,
“When your name surfaced in the MeToo campaign, I, like everyone else, was surprised. Though some of the women who worked with TNIE earlier, often used to discuss, though in hush-hush tones, about your stares which made them uncomfortable, I never imagined that you would be accused of going as far as trying to touch women colleagues or do whatever they accused you of.” He added, “But that being so, when you took the ‘help’ of a woman colleague in Hyderabad office to post something in your support and she did, I lost all the respect I had for you. She told many in office, including me, that she posted and deleted it on your request.”
In the email, Sharma has also stated that many people were discussing the possibility of his boss colluding with the incumbent government of Telangana for political favours. He wrote, “I do not know if you are aware but many journalists here talk about you becoming the unofficial advisor to the Chief Minister KCR, his son KTR and daughter Kavitha and therefore TNIE going out of the way to help them.”
Sharma also said that the TNIE published fake news to help K Chandrashekar Rao. He stated in his email, “Recently, we have published falsehood in our local editions about the various schemes launched by them and how people in Telangana are happy. The RE says it was done at your instructions.”
The email also suggested that Vasu was using the newspaper to secure a Rajya Sabha seat for himself. Sharma wrote, “Many say you want to support them through TNIE just because you have an eye on the Rajya Sabha seat. Having aspirations is good enough sir but I feel misusing the newspaper for it is not done.
Sharma said that he was glad that Express wasn’t the largest circulated daily in Telangana. He said, “I know it is election time and TNIE is going all out in doing its bit to support TRS though I’m glad that Express is not the largest circulated daily otherwise the falsehood we have been publishing for the last four an a half years (since TRS came to power) would have reached far and wide.”
The allegations of sexual misconduct against the Editor-in-chief of TNIE is not the only grave accusation being levelled against him. He is also being accused of turning TNIE into a propaganda outlet for political favours. The bias of mainstream media has always been well known but such allegations, if found to be true, only confirms that mainstream media channels are in the business of fake news propaganda, not reporting facts.