Aparna Sen and others demand the withdrawal of latest issue of Vanitha Magazine

Dileep Vanitha

Over 650 eminent persons have signed a petition demanding that Malayalam Manorama (Kerala’s largest media house owning the largest circulated newspaper) withdraw it’s latest issue of Vanitha Magazine. The outrage is about a cover photograph in the Magazine of a prominent Malayalam actor accused in a molestation case. On the cover he is seen with his family. The photograph effectively covers up the fact that he is a prime accused in a sexual crime against a woman colleague. Vanitha, which translates as Woman, is a fortnightly magazine published by Malayala Manorama. The Malayalam edition of the magazine has a readership of over 2.27 million, making it the highest read magazine in India.

The petition also addresses the Kerala Govt urging it to hold consultations on the Justice Hema Commission report and implementation of its recommendations. The Hema Commission was set up by the Govt of Kerala to study the issues of gender disparity, security and sexual harassment in the Malayalam Film Industry. The commission submitted it’s report in Dec 2019 but the Govt has neither had discussions or made the Report public. The petition states that these reforms would have far reaching implications for all working women

The petition also draws attention to the need for IC’s ( Internal Committees as per the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act, POSH) in all film production companies and sets to ensure the safety and security of women.

The signatories include prominent persons like Aparna Sen(Filmmaker), Susie Tharu ( Academic) , Suhasini Mulay (Actor), Nilima Sheikh (Artist), Maya Rao ( Theatre activist) , Githa Hariharan (Writer) and others.

All signatories have pledged their support to the women who are at the forefront of this struggle for a safe and conducive working environment for all professionals.

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