A Republic TV journalist, Shweta Kothari, resigned on Friday (Oct 13) and published a blog post on Facebook narrating her ordeal with workplace harassment.
Below is the post that Shweta wrote:
I have resigned from my current position as a Senior Correspondent with Republic TV with immediate effect. Below is the sequence of events that led to my resignation.
On 30th August 2017, my reporting manager (an editor who I would not like to name) came up to me and said that Arnab Goswami suspects me of being a mole planted by Shashi Tharoor in the organisation, the reason being, Mr Tharoor follows me on Twitter.
If the proposition wasn’t ridiculous enough, I was further told that I have signed a petition on Change.org pertaining to Mr Tharoor a few years back, which has further raised suspicions.
The witch-hunt did not end there. Later that day I was informed that it was, in fact, my Reporting Manager who diligently spent time going through my social network profiles and later proposed that I may be a Spy and also took it up with Arnab Goswami.
The humiliation continued for a few more days. My financial status was inquired (proposing that I may have been getting paid by Mr Tharoor); my colleagues were questioned on whether I try to extract information.
My twitter cover picture was misinterpreted to question my loyalty (A famous poem that still continues to be my cover picture).
It was only in late September when I finally raised it up with Arnab. I narrated the ordeal to him and the fact it has taken a hit on my morale. There was no concrete response.
To set the record straight, I have never met/contacted/known Mr Tharoor in any capacity. Nobody bothered to clarify. I was left in the lurch. My loyalty questioned, my vanity hurt.
I am not the first person to have faced the kind of scrutiny of my character, before me, there were other colleagues who have faced worst. I am confident there will be more. Question is – how long before the organization pulls the plug?
This isn’t the first time either that this sort of humiliation was meted out to me. On 30th May 2017 I had done a sting operation on a sitting SHO for a story.
Later at around 7 PM, the editor called me up and accused me of ‘flirting’ with the SHO. When I protested, she threatened to make the conversation public and destroy my career.
The culture of fear, intimidation and harassment I have seen in the last few months is unparalleled. My only concern, it goes unquestioned.
Last nail in the coffin came on 9th of October when I was unceremoniously dropped from the Special Projects team at 1.30 AM. When I tried questioning the rationale behind it, my reporting manager said, “it is beneath my dignity to talk to you”.
Sadly, when I once again brought it to the notice of the top bosses, there was no intervention.
I have previously been associated with two fantastic organizations and have worked with industry stalwarts. Never have I witnessed such vindictive and vicious conduct.
While I am thankful to the organisation for giving me a great learning experience and abundant opportunities, I hope this pattern of vilification of employees on basis hearsay ceases to exist.
It has taken a great amount of courage to pen this down, against the advice of many of my well wishers who believe that this may hamper my career prospects.
Perhaps it will, but if I don’t speak up today, what good am I as a journalist?