Sexual exploitation of female staff at workplace is on the rise. In the latest case, embarrassment has come for none other than public broadcaster Prasar Bharati. It has not only sacked two of its employees but has suspended one and issued show cause notice to the Director of Delhi Kendra seeking an explanation.
In what can be termed only as the tip of the iceberg, over 25 presenters had complained in March itself for being discriminated against on issues of salaries and work allocation. They also levied the serious charges of sexual innuendos and advances they have been facing since last two years.
Coming together under the aegis of AIR Broadcasting Professionals Association, the presenters had complained to Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Commission for Women. This prompted Prasar Bharati to order an internal enquiry. Additionally, a PIL has too been filed and the hearing is slotted for May.
Orders were issued on Monday by Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar that called for immediate removal of duty officers NK Verma and Shelly. They have been banned from any further employment in Prasar Bharati too. Program Executive Danish Iqbal from FM Gold channel has been suspended for influencing the enquiry.
In order to show that it is serious on the issue, Prasar Bharati has issued show cause notice to the Director of Delhi Kendra L S Bajpai for going slow on the matter.
Coming down hardly on the issue, Prasar Bharati member Brig (retd) V A M Hussain has pointed that the particular case was sensitive and presented a poor image of the public service broadcaster.
The internal enquiry ordered by Prasar Bharati was still underway and as a public broadcasting service, it is the obligation of the body to bring its house in order so as to facilitate the enquiry and send out a clear messages to the public at large that any sexiest statements and harassment at workplace will not be tolerated in the organization.
On being asked about the impending enquiry, Prasar Bharati CEO Sircar pointed out that the suspensions were necessary in order to ensure free and fair enquiry. As a public service broadcaster, Prasar Bharati has a lot to explain to the public and by coming down harshly on the matter, it has taken the correct approach.
Meanwhile, it has come out from the enquiry that faulty system appeared to be in place with no stringent control over supervision and engagement of the presenters. This has led to emergence of this particular scenario, where the working of Prasar Bharati itself has come under question.
The enquiry ordered by the public broadcasting body is a corrective measure in heightened times when cases of sexual harassment of women are on the rise. By ordering an enquiry and suspending the guilty, Prasar Bharati has tried to send out a stern message that no wrongdoing will be tolerated at workplace.