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#MeToo: Hindustan Times's Bureau Chief Steps Down After Harassment Allegations

Prashant Jha is one of the first high-profile figures named to step down from his role since the #MeToo movement hit the Indian media.

New Delhi: Following allegations of sexual harassment, Prashant Jha has stepped down as the political editor and bureau chief of the Hindustan Times (HT). In an email to editorial staff, HT editor-in-chief Sukumar wrote:

“Hi all, Prashant Jha has stepped down as the Chief of Bureau and Political Editor of Hindustan Times with immediate effect. The bureau will report to me for the time being.”

A former Hindustan Times correspondent, Avantika Mehta had accused Jha of harassment. She posted screenshots of Whatsapp conversations between her and Jha on Twitter.

“I was as nice as I could be because my little experience in Delhi has taught me pissing off a man who’s considered a darling journalist will have shit repercussions for my career and/or I’ll be at the receiving end of his friend’s wrath or laughter.”

Also read: Dark Underbelly of Indian Media Revealed as Scores of Journalists Say #MeToo

Mehta later clarified that the conversations were from 2017, when she was no longer an employee of the Hindustan Times.

Jha is one of the first high-profile figures named to step down from his role since the #MeToo movement hit the Indian media. In his email to the HT editor-in-chief, he wrote:

“There have been specific allegations against me – and my personal conduct – recently, which have raised moral questions about my conduct. 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. I would not like the organisation to suffer, in the least, because of any allegations I face.”


Responding to The Wire‘s queries, the organisation’s general counsel Dinesh Mital confirmed that the management has accepted Jha’s offer to step down pending inquiry. While Jha continues to be a part of the media group, an investigation led by their internal complaints committee has been set in motion.

We have also sent a questionnaire to the HT editor-in-chief. This story will be updated as and when they respond.

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