Academic journal article Review of Management

Mentor as Tormentor: A Case of Sexual Harassment at a Media Company

Academic journal article Review of Management

Mentor as Tormentor: A Case of Sexual Harassment at a Media Company

Article excerpt

About the Media Company

Two seasoned journalists Tarun Tejpal and Aniruddha Bahal launched Tehelka as web-based investigative journalism portal in the year 2000. It was set to rock the country and the world with its unique journalistic escapades based on string operations -hitherto unheard of practice in Indian media space. Soon after its inception, Tehelka turned into a household name by exposing cricket match-fixing that repositioned several cricket stars from being demi-gods to despicable devils. The following year, Tehelka turned the tables upside down by exposing indulgence of corrupt practices among political heavyweights including some ministers and presidents and senior functionaries of political parties. It resulted in resignation of several minsters and party office-bearers. But the government swung into action to probe the sources that funded the sting operation involving huge transactions in cash. Due to so called state 'repression' (judicial investigations/tax-related raids, etc.), most of the 120 the employees left with only three of them staying put and by 2003 the website closed down due to mass exodus of employees and looming debts (Harding, 2003; Phalnikar, 2008). Co-founder Aniruddha Bahal also left to start another web-portal Cobra Post.

Tehelka was relaunched as a tabloid in 2004 as a reader-financed venture when 200 conscientious citizens provided Rs. 1,00,000 each as seed-money in the form of life-time subscriptions (Phalnikar, 2008). Thus the idea behind Tehelka received another lease of life. The team Tehelka expanded with like-minded journalists who wanted to pursue truth and uncover the dirty faces of those who held power, position and money. Readers whole-heartedly supported this move as evident from great rush for pre-publication subscriptions. This tabloid positioned itself as 'People's Paper' promoting "free, fair and fearless" journalism. In 2007, Tehelka was launched as a weekly magazine in order to tap revenue from advertisements as website and tabloid were not hotspots for the marketers then. People patronized the magazine just as they had supported the website and the tabloid. Same year, Hindi edition of Tehelka magazine and website were launched.

By 2008, Tarun became the largest shareholder of Tehelka through his company Agni Media Private Limited now known as Anant Media Private Limited. However, in due course of time, Royal Building & Infrastructure Private Limited owned by K D Singh bought two-third shares in Anant Media, thus having controlling stake (Thakurta, 2014). Meanwhile, in Tarun Tejpal, his sister Neena and colleague Shoma Chaudhary launched Thinkworks Private Limited and started annual THiNK Fest in 2011 touted as Tehelka event. It was during third edition THiNK Fest in 2013 that all hell broke when illustrious founder of Tehelka lost his sense and allegedly indulged in sexual assault on a junior female colleague. Revelations of sexual overtures of Tarun rocked Tehelka as an institution which had astounded the nation and the world for last so many years with sensational sting operations uncovering the corrupt and the powerful. In the aftermath of recent controversies involving Tarun Tejpal, K D Singh owned Royal Building & Infrastructure Private Limited is planning to exit from Anant Media Private Limited which publishes Tehelka week after week despite all odds (Thakurta, 2014).

Profile of the Perpetrator

Tarun Tejpal (born 15 March 1963) is an acclaimed novelist, seasoned journalist and perceptive publisher. He is well known for being maverick and clamorous. As his father was in India Army, he spent his childhood in several parts of the country. He graduated in Economics from Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Tarun began his journalistic career in early 1980s with Indian Express. Soon he moved to Delhi to work for India 2000 (now defunct). In 1984, he joined India Today. After having worked with the leading weekly magazine for a decade, he joined Financial Express I 1994. …

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