People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 08

February 24, 2013



DUJ Gender Council Rejects Vayalar Ravi’s Apology


THE Gender Council of the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has condemned the attempt made by union minister Vayalar Ravi to browbeat a young woman reporter who asked him some questions regarding the Suryanelli rape case. The Gender Council pointed out that the minister’s aggressive counter questions to TV journalist Aishwarya Sumithran, were both personal and sexist. His apology that the remark was only a jest and that the journalist is like a granddaughter to him is, in itself, patronising, the council added.


The council’s opinion came out through a statement issued by DUJ president Sujata Madhok and general secretary S K Pande on February 15, 2013.


The Gender Council deplored the hectoring, patronising and sexist tone adopted by the minister while speaking to this local reporter in his home constituency of Alapuzha. When Sumithran asked for the minister’s reactions to the alleged involvement of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P J Kurien in the rape case, minister Ravi in turn alleged that she had something personal against the Congress leader. “Did he do something to you?” he asked in Malayalam. According to the DUJ Gender Council, both the language minister Ravi used and his body language (caught on camera) were objectionable.


The DUJ Gender Council also congratulated Kerala’s women journalists, particularly the Kerala chapter of the Network of Women in Media, for taking up the issue. The DUJ statement also reiterated its firm belief that the dignity and rights of women in the media must be protected, so that they can work shoulder to shoulder with their male colleagues in the profession.