Veteran journalist Vinod Dua has presented a new video blog for The Wire website days after facing allegations of sexual harassment. Dua has also told the website to complete the investigation within seven days, during which he will not record any more video.
In his video Jan Gan Man Ki Baat, Dua has vehemently denied the allegations of sexual harassment by journalist Nishtha Jain, likening it to mud being slung at him. He said no such incident ever took place and the allegations were Jain’s figment of imagination.
While posting the video, the website wrote, “Vinod Dua also announces he is suspending his show for a week to give The Wire space to examine the allegation of harassment against him.”
Hours after Jain accused Dua of sexual harassment in 1989, The Wire had reacted swiftly to acknowledge that it had taken note of her allegations. A statement issued by its editor Siddharth Varadarajan had read, “We have seen Nishtha Jain’s Facebook post where she accuses Vinod Dua, a consulting editor of The Wire, of an incident of sexual harassment in 1989. Dua denies the charge.”
The statement went on to add, “Though the incident pertains to 26 years before Mr Dua’s association with The Wire, our ICC has taken note of Ms Jain’s allegation. We await the outcome of their deliberations in the matter.”
However, Jain had later complained that no one had contacted her from the website. She had also raised questions on Dua’s continuation as the consulting editor of The Wire during the investigation. Jain had tweeted, “In the statement that The http://Wire.in published yesterday, they have said that their ICC has taken notice of the matter. But I have not been contacted as yet. And how can ICC carry out objective investigation with Vinod Dua still a part of the organisation?”
The website had later announced that it had decided to constitute an external committee consisting of a retired justice of the Supreme Court, a retired justice of a high court, a retired Indian Foreign Service officer and a retired professor.”
The Wire has asked an external committee to look into Nishtha Jain's allegation against Vinod Dua. pic.twitter.com/6TcpJcfTyk
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) October 17, 2018
Meanwhile, The Wire’s decision to provide Dua a platform to defend himself on the allegations against him hasn’t gone down well with journalists and activists on social media. Kavita Krishnan tweeted, “Seriously @thewire_in @svaradarajan?! How was this episode allowed to be aired, in which Vinod Dua – accused of stalking and sexual harassment by @nishkin21 – does a Trump and stokes fears that #MeToo allows “keechad” against “shareef aadmis”?!”
Seriously @thewire_in @svaradarajan?! How was this episode allowed to be aired, in which Vinod Dua – accused of stalking and sexual harassment by @nishkin21 – does a Trump and stokes fears that #MeToo allows “keechad” against “shareef aadmis”?! https://t.co/oNNpb1nMlA
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) October 17, 2018
Journalist Harini Calamur wrote, “How did the Wire’s editorial guidelines allow them allow a man accused of harassment to use a platform to do this? I am livid #MeToo: Vinod Dua gives The Wire one week to investigate the allegations against him.”
Journalist Manisha Pande tweeted, “Moreover, #VinodDua says the accusations against him aren’t that of sexual harassment, just “troubling” someone. If @thewire_in has an ICC looking into this, why allow him the platform to say this? He could have said so on his FB page or put out a personal statement.”