17 journalists want Delhi’s Patiala Court to hear them in case against MJ Akbar

A group of current and former journalists employed by The Asian Age, a newspaper that was once edited by MJ Akbar — a Union minister accused of sexually harassing at least 10 former colleagues — issued a statement on Tuesday, urging a Delhi court to accept their testimonies in the case.

Akbar has filed a criminal defamation suit against journalist Priya Ramani, the first woman to accuse him of sexual harassment.

The lawsuit said Ramani “intentionally put forward malicious, fabricated and salacious” allegations to harm the former editor’s reputation.

Ramani has said she is “ready to fight allegations of defamation laid against me, as truth and the absolute truth is my only defence.”

The statement, issued on Tuesday by 17 journalists supporting Ramani, said: “Ms Ramani is not alone in her fight. We would request the honourable court hearing the defamation case to also consider testimonies of sexual harassment of some of us at the hands of the petitioner, as also of the other signatories who bore witness to this harassment.”

The Patiala House court has listed the criminal defamation case for Thursday.

In his complaint, Akbar said it was apparent that a false narrative against him was being circulated in a motivated manner and for the fulfillment of an agenda.

The Congress and several journalist bodies have called for Akbar’s removal from the government over the allegations.

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