The Fall of A Brave Journalist
When the rich and the people in power think that they can get away with misdemeanors, is exactly when we need to take a moral stand against them. Journalists are no exception to this creed. Today, instead of being the honest reporter, doing his/her job with an unblemished integrity, journalists have actually become the power brokering middle-men and women busy fixing deals. They clamor for a sybaritic existence that is far from the up-righteousness that their profession demands.
Tarun Tejpal, was a man I had a great respect for. He started his journalistic career in the 80s, with the India Today magazine and later was greatly instrumental in founding the Outlook magazine.
He left Outlook magazine in March 2000, to start tehelka.com, an online independent news and views magazine which shook the whole of India with its sting investigations including the cricket and defense scams. He created a furor in not just the media world. Here was a man who could stand up for truth and honesty. A man with a spine. A man who would fight the high and the mighty and set things correct. A man to be admired and respected.
But alas not any more!
Tarun Tejpal made headlines today, but for all the wrong reasons. He has been accused by a colleague for sexually assaulting her between November 7 and 10 during Think 2013 in Goa.
The girl complained about him to the managing editor of Tehelka, Shoma Chaudhary and she demanded a written apology from Tejpal and also that his apology be circulated among Tehelka staffers.
Tejpal apologised immediately and unconditionally in an email to his colleagues. The email went viral on the Internet. Numerous calls for legal action against him are now growing louder. The people everywhere are in no mood to forgive Tejpal. The girl has not yet filed an official complaint but most say police and court can take suo motu notice of the content of the circulated email.
The police have emailed Tehelka’s managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, in the meantime. The Goa government has ordered an inquiry into the woman’s allegations that Mr Tejpal sexually assaulted her at a hotel where the Tehelka team was staying for an event the magazine organised earlier this month.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told NDTV, “We have ordered a preliminary inquiry, it doesn’t require any complaint. If the allegations are found to be true, the police will register a case. From what I see, the crime has taken place.”
In his mail with the subject line “Atonement”, Tejpal said, “The last few days have been most testing, and I squarely take the blame for this. A bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for. I have already unconditionally apologised for my misconduct to the concerned journalist, but I feel impelled to atone further. I must do the penance that lacerates me. I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months.”