ramesh-sharmaRamesh Sharma

New Delhi :

Tehelka has officially announced that Managing editor Shoma Chaudhury who stepped down from the post earlier today, would be succeeded by deputy editor Ramesh Sharma. According to the official description on the Tehelka website:

Ramesh Sharma began his journalism career with The Times of India in 1988, after graduating from The Times School of Journalism (TRF, Institute for Social Sciences, Research & Education), in New Delhi. During his six-plus years with the Times, he handled various responsibilities, including bringing out the main edition of the newspaper. He also reported on politics, environment and social issues. Later, as the desk in charge of The Sunday Times of India, he was instrumental in shaping the Open Space page. He was among the founding members, along with Dileep Padgaonkar and 23 others, of the first independent media organisation run by journalists in New Delhi—the Asia-Pacific Communication Associates (APCA). Thereafter, Ramesh went on to do a five-year stint with India Today and another five years with the IANS news agency, where he was in charge of producing Asian Voice, a London tabloid aimed at NRIs. In IANS, he also handled two news portals, indiaabroad.com and Indiainfo.com. He has also tried his hands at television journalism, with a two-and-half year stint at Headlines Today, where he was a Senior Producer. In 2007, he was back with APCA to produce a strategic affairs magazine—India & Global Affairs—for the Sakaal Group of newspapers. Ramesh has been with Tehelka since 2009. He is based in New Delhi.

Earlier on 28 November, 2013 controversial Shoma Choudhary had to resign from the post. She wrote in the print issue as follows:

shoma_chaudhury1Shoma Choudhary

Dear Readers,

I wish there was more to say, more to explain, more to make sense of. As readers of Tehelka, you have been a crucial and integral part of the space that this magazine and its journalism represents.

Last week, on 18 November, a young Tehelka journalist complained that Tehelka editor and founder, Tarun Tejpal, had sexually assaulted her and sent a harrowing account of her experience. A criminal case has been lodged by the police in Goa, where the alleged assault took place, and the law will now take its course. This scandal has grievously affected the institution, whose journalists, staff and body of work have nothing to do with it.

In the past week, my own handling of the complaint has come under criticism. As questions continue to be raised about the integrity of my actions, I have stepped down as managing editor.

What follows is the text of my resignation letter.

Dear All,

This has been a damaging time for all associated with Tehelka. Since the devastating allegation was first brought to my notice on 18 November, I have taken a series of actions in response to this complaint. To my mind, I acted on instant outrage and solidarity for our colleague as a woman and co-worker.

After the first steps to immediately address her expressed needs, the process of setting up the anti-sexual harassment committee was begun. There were only two days to act on the complaint before the story broke in the press. Post this, things have been misconstrued and have snowballed exponentially in the media, based on half-facts and selective leaks. In the next stage, once the committee was formed, the law would have taken its course according to the findings and recommendations.

Over the past week, I have been accused of an attempt to “cover-up” and for not standing by my feminist positions. While I accept that I could have done many things differently and in a more measured way, I reject the allegations of a cover-up because in no way could the first actions that were taken be deemed suppression of any kind. As for my feminist positions, I believe I acted in consonance with them by giving my colleague’s account precedence over everything else.

However, despite this, as a result of what’s transpired over the past few days, my integrity has repeatedly been questioned by people from our fraternity and, in fact, by the public at large. I would like to take cognisance of this.

I have worked hard for Tehelka for many years and what we have stood for is very dear to me and I hold it in high esteem. I do not want questions raised about my integrity to tarnish the image of Tehelka, which it has done in the past week. Therefore, I resign as Managing Editor with immediate effect.

There are many readers and colleagues who have believed in me and expressed their faith through this very difficult time. I am deeply grateful to them.

I will come in to office to close the issue and do the necessary handovers. I cannot express how painful this is for me. It has never been a part of me to give up midway through a challenge. I would have liked to continue at Tehelka to see us through this dark time, but I am no longer sure whether my presence is harming or helping Tehelka.

I deeply regret any inadequacies or lack of clarity I may have displayed in my leadership.

28 November 2013 | 5:52 AM



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