The winners of the Ramnath Goenka Awards for excellence in journalism were declared on Monday where four journalists associated with far-left propaganda website The Quint were the recipient of three awards. Poonam Agarwal’s reports on electoral bonds, Asmita Nandy and Meghnad Bose’s documentary ‘Lynchistan’, and Shadab Moizee’s documentary on the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, five years on, received the recognition.
Meghnad Bose is the same reporter who was accused of sexual harassment at the height of the MeToo movement. As per the woman who leveled the allegations against Meghnad, she was under the influence of alcohol one night when she returned to her campus and was having fun in the company of friends on the lawn. Soon, they were joined by Meghnad.
After a while, her friends left for their room upstairs leaving the two of them alone. She claims that she had put her head on his lap as she was feeling light-headed. Soon, she felt him touch her lips, her mouth and even put his finger inside her mouth. She got up and left the scene. Her account was shared through an independent journalist. Her account was supported by another person who claims that Meghnad’s inappropriate behaviour was being discussed behind closed doors.
Another woman had claimed that Meghnad had asked her if she wore a push-up bra in front of everyone in the canteen. After these multiple allegations, The Quint journalist apologised for his behaviour on social media. He tendered an unconditional apology to any woman he might have made uncomfortable. While he apologised unconditionally, he also said that he doesn’t recall him pushing his finger in anyone’s mouth, an allegation that was mounted against him through a journalist.
Another The Quint journalist Poonam Agarwal, meanwhile, is the journalist who was booked in a case of abetment to suicide in the matter of an Army Jawan’s death due to a piece of ‘sting’ journalism. Poonam had entered the Deolali cantonment in Nashik, Maharashtra with hidden cameras concealing her identity as a journalist, and recorded videos that showed army jawans employed as sahayaks (helpers) indulged in doing menial jobs that they should not be doing.
She talked to a jawan Lance Naik Roy Mathew in particular, who allegedly had no idea that he was talking to a journalist, and the conversation was used to prove that jawans were not happy with the sahayak system and that they were being exploited. A few days later, Roy Mathew was found dead in an abandoned barrack in the cantonment. A diary was recovered from the barrack, which suggested that the jawan was under pressure and it was a case of suicide. Roy Mathew’s family members also confirmed that he was scared and under pressure as his identity was reported to have been revealed due to the “sting operation” and subsequent media coverage. The charges against Poonam were subsequently quashed by the judiciary.