Journalist Prashant Jha on Monday stepped down as the chief of bureau and political editor of the Hindustan Times following an allegation of sexual misconduct against him.
In an email to the newspaper’s board, Jha said the allegations against him had raised “moral questions” about his conduct. Scroll.in has accessed a copy of the email. “In this backdrop, I believe it would be best for me to step down from the position of the National Political Editor/Chief of Bureau of the Hindustan Times,” he wrote. “I would not like the organisation to suffer, in the least, because of any allegations I face.”
Jha held multiple meetings with Sukumar and Executive Editor Kunal Pradhan after the allegations surfaced, reported HuffPost India.
Since Friday, several women on social media have levelled allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against various journalists, media professionals and writers. Those accused include senior editors as well as reporters.
In one post, a former employee of the Hindustan Times accused Prashant Jha of making her feel uncomfortable. The woman posted screenshots of their text messages on a social media platform. She later said the conversation was from 2017, when she was no longer an employee, and hence could not file an internal complaint.
On Sunday, The Indian Express had quoted a spokesperson for the Hindustan Times as saying that the company was “verifying facts as this was two years ago”. “We are seeing whether a complaint was filed or not and whether any action was taken or not,” the spokesperson then said. “An internal investigation will begin Monday.”
Jha is the author of the 2017 book How the BJP wins.