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Kerala actor assault case: NWMI calls out gag order that benefits accused.

Kerala actor assault case: NWMI calls out gag order that benefits accused.

The Network of Women in Media (NWMI), on Friday, released a joint statement expressing their concern over the rising trend of men seeking gag orders on the media in sexual assault and harassment cases.

The statement was released concerning the misuse of gag orders during various sexual assaults and harassment case. It also pointed out the Kerala actor's sexual assault and abduction case in 2017 as the latest instance of media being gagged.

NWMI also described in detail as to how seeking the order has led to an unfair trial in several such cases.

A gag order is a legal order restricting reporters, attorneys and other parties involved in the case from reporting or disclosing information relevant to the case. This is typically issued to ensure a fair trial.

However, NWMI pointed out that issuing a gag order would result in a serious miscarriage of justice if powerful and influential men of means manage to take refuge in laws designed to protect women by flouting all tenets of a fair trial and abusing the justice system." Anonymity is given by law to a woman survivor, and not to hide the misdeeds of a male accused," the statement read.

An informal organization comprising women journalists and others working in the media profession, NWMI is an autonomous body that has been working as a forum for them to exchange ideas, promote media awareness and ensure justice within the media and society.

The statement ended with the signatories urging media houses to continue to report vigilantly and responsibly without succumbing to fear or intimidatory tactics.

Some signatories of the statement include writer KR Meera, poet VM Girija, feminist historians J Devika, Nivedita Menon and V Geetha, senior journalist BRP Bhaskar and writer NS Madhavan, among others.

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