The electoral campaigns in India have failed to address timely the issues of sexual violence against women.
This was stated by Dr. Pallavi Guha, who teaches Journalism and New Media at Towson University US, while delivering the 3rd Dr. Anamika Ray National Media Lecture 2019 at Gauhati University on Thursday.
Dr Guha delivered the Lecture on sexual harassment activism on social media ‘Is #MeToo a political campaign issue in India?’
The Lecture was organized by Dr. Anamika Ray Memorial Trust (ARMT) in collaboration with the department of Communication and Journalism, Gauhati University, stated a Gauhati University press communique.
Dr Guha, a former journalist of BBC (UK), said, “The safety of women in 2014 became a political campaign right after the Nirbhaya Movement in 2012-13, whereas sexual violence against women was not counted as an issue in the campaign of recently held assembly election of three states. This is due to the existing gap between electoral issues for political parties and social media activism on sexual harassment.”
“In this regard, mainstream media must close-up this gap and help in building an interdependent agenda as mainstream media have access to larger audiences. Moreover, the activism needs to be more inclusive,” added Dr Guha.
Referring the #MeToo Movement as restricted to 28 pc of women who go to work, Dr Guha said, “Activism on social media needs to be more inclusive, it must include the entire 48.1 per cent women of the total population in India as per the International Labour Organisation”.
Dr Guha also said the election manifestos of 2019 are much awaited so as to see whether the #MeToo movement occurred in 2017 and 2018 in India would play a campaign card.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Mridul Hazarika, Vice Chancellor of GU said, “Despite the rapid use of social media in various issues, especially on sexual harassment, it is important to analyse the facts beforehand. This will restore the societal values. It is not always important to be a part of crowd or be a crowd for the conscious people.”
Prof Manoj Kumar Patairiya, Director, CSIR-NISCAIR, Govt. of India, New Delhi presided over the meeting while ARMT Vice Chair Rajat Baran Mahant, Trustee Dr. Ankuran Dutta along with other faculty members, research scholars and students of Gauhati University also attended the lecture.