Amid #MeToo in India, The Times of India to not report sexual harassment charges posted anonymously on social media

The Times of India on Monday published its policy on covering the #MeToo movement, which continues to rage in India. The organisation said it respects and supports the spirit of the #MeToo movement and "is aggressively covering the horrific stories of sexual harassment allegations, both past and present, that are being revealed by a range of courageous women from across society".

However, being the "media organisation with the largest reach among all", TOI said the onus on it is even greater. It has, therefore, made a conscious decision "not to report allegations of sexual harassment posted anonymously on social media sites".

The statement said that "anonymous and unverifiable" allegations posted on social media platforms "raise serious ethical questions because these platforms can also easily be misused by those with malicious intent to defame".

While the organisation said it understands that "many victims who have a real story to tell may choose to remain anonymous due to fear, safety or privacy concerns", TOI does not want its "platform to be misused for propagating what could potentially be false, malicious or defamatory content".

It reiterated that it will not be reporting on "anonymous allegations on social media, until the person concerned or their organisation responds publicly – in which case these allegations become a legitimate news story to be covered".

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