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#MeToo Movement: Journalists, actors and activists join hands in protest

Updated : 2018-10-17 17:07:41

Indian actresses and writers are flooding social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, releasing pent-up frustration with a law that was lauded internationally but that critics say has done little to change the status quo in the world's largest democracy.

"People using social media to articulate their complaints should be recognised in the context of failure. The system has in effect failed us, has failed women," T.K. Rajalakshmi, president of the Indian Women's Press Corps, said in a panel discussion Thursday in New Delhi.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act of 2013 holds workplaces liable for sexual harassment, and prescribes a system for investigating and redressing complaints. Employers must create committees that are at least 50 percent women, presided over by a woman and with one external expert, to process complaints. The law builds on the landmark 1997 Vishakha case, in which the Supreme Court held that sexual harassment at work violated a woman's constitutional right to equality.

A journalist holds a placard demanding the removal of the country's Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Indian actresses and writers are flooding social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, releasing pent-up frustration with a law that was lauded internationally but that critics say has done little to change the status quo in the world's largest democracy. In less than a week, at least nine women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior when he was a newspaper editor in Kolkata and Delhi. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
A journalist holds a placard demanding the removal of the country's Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Indian actresses and writers are flooding social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, releasing pent-up frustration with a law that was lauded internationally but that critics say has done little to change the status quo in the world's largest democracy. In less than a week, at least nine women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior when he was a newspaper editor in Kolkata and Delhi. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
On October 10, actor and heavyweight Bollywood producer Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao put out a statement saying that they were “committed to doing any and everything to make our film industry a safe and happy one to work in.” In a Tweet, Khan said they were about to begin work with someone who has been accused of sexual misconduct and the matter is pending in court. March 14, 2018 (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File)
On October 10, actor and heavyweight Bollywood producer Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao put out a statement saying that they were “committed to doing any and everything to make our film industry a safe and happy one to work in.” In a Tweet, Khan said they were about to begin work with someone who has been accused of sexual misconduct and the matter is pending in court. March 14, 2018 (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade, File)
Activists of Congress party’s women’s wing shout slogans against Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a protest in support of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta in Mumbai, India,  A social media storm began in September, when Dutta spoke to several Indian TV news channels about her frustration with nothing resulting from a police complaint she filed in 2008 against Patekar for alleged sexual harassment on a Mumbai movie set. The complaint by the retired actress living in the United States could be a tipping point for the country’s burgeoning #MeToo movement. Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Activists of Congress party’s women’s wing shout slogans against Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a protest in support of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta in Mumbai, India,  A social media storm began in September, when Dutta spoke to several Indian TV news channels about her frustration with nothing resulting from a police complaint she filed in 2008 against Patekar for alleged sexual harassment on a Mumbai movie set. The complaint by the retired actress living in the United States could be a tipping point for the country’s burgeoning #MeToo movement. Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Activists of Congress party’s women’s wing shout slogans against Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a protest in support of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Activists of Congress party’s women’s wing shout slogans against Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a protest in support of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Activists of Congress party’s women’s wing shout slogans against Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a protest in support of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. Signage behind reads,
Activists of Congress party’s women’s wing shout slogans against Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a protest in support of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. Signage behind reads, "Oshiwara Police station, Mumbai" (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Retired Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta in Ahmedabad, India. A complaint by Dutta, who now lives in the United States, alleging sexual harassment on a 2008 movie set has galvanized women in India, but for the country’s burgeoning #MeToo movement to reach broader swaths of society, a little-known labor law must be more aggressively implemented, lawyers and activists said Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. June 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)
Retired Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta in Ahmedabad, India. A complaint by Dutta, who now lives in the United States, alleging sexual harassment on a 2008 movie set has galvanized women in India, but for the country’s burgeoning #MeToo movement to reach broader swaths of society, a little-known labor law must be more aggressively implemented, lawyers and activists said Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. June 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)
A police officer tries to prevent traffic blockade as activists of Congress party’s women’s wing shout slogans against Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a protest in support of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
A police officer tries to prevent traffic blockade as activists of Congress party’s women’s wing shout slogans against Bollywood actor Nana Patekar during a protest in support of former Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
Bollywood producer Vikas Bahl, left, poses with editor Bharathi Mehra and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra during a photo call for the film 'Delhi 6' at the 66th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. On October 7, an unnamed former employee at Phantom Films writing in the Huffington Post described allegations she had made in 2015 against one of the company’s partners, director Vikas Bahl, whom she said behaved inappropriately during a trip to Goa. Sept. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
Bollywood producer Vikas Bahl, left, poses with editor Bharathi Mehra and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra during a photo call for the film 'Delhi 6' at the 66th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. On October 7, an unnamed former employee at Phantom Films writing in the Huffington Post described allegations she had made in 2015 against one of the company’s partners, director Vikas Bahl, whom she said behaved inappropriately during a trip to Goa. Sept. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)
Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar, center, hugs Finland's Foreign Minister Timo Soini in New Delhi, India. In less than a week, at least nine women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior when he was a newspaper editor in Kolkata and Delhi. Nov. 24, 2017 (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)
Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar, center, hugs Finland's Foreign Minister Timo Soini in New Delhi, India. In less than a week, at least nine women journalists have accused Akbar of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior when he was a newspaper editor in Kolkata and Delhi. Nov. 24, 2017 (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)
Women shout slogans during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Indian actresses and writers are flooding social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, releasing pent-up frustration with a law that was lauded internationally but that critics say has done little to change the status quo in the world's largest democracy. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Women shout slogans during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Indian actresses and writers are flooding social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault, releasing pent-up frustration with a law that was lauded internationally but that critics say has done little to change the status quo in the world's largest democracy. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Placards and a microphone are seen lying on the sidewalks as journalists protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Placards and a microphone are seen lying on the sidewalks as journalists protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
A journalist picks up a placard from a stack during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
A journalist picks up a placard from a stack during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Journalists hold placards as they shout slogans during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Journalists hold placards as they shout slogans during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
A journalist holds a placard which reads,
A journalist holds a placard which reads, "Accountability begins at the top! The government should know this!" during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
A woman holds a banner during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A woman holds a banner during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Women participate in a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Women participate in a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Women block a road and argue with during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Women block a road and argue with during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Policewomen watch as women participate in a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Policewomen watch as women participate in a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Women shout slogans during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Women shout slogans during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi, India. Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
A women holds a banner, which reads
A women holds a banner, which reads "NO NO NO" during a protest against sexual harassment in the workplace in New Delhi. India, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018.  (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
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