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Pakistan: We welcome the court decision on harassment case of radio broadcaster Tehreem Muneeba in favor of her

Posted By – The Coalition for Women in Journalism, May 22, 2020


Radio broadcaster Tehreem Muneeba was harassed while at work in a studio at Samaa FM in 2018. Tehreem had to quit her job after being subjected to harassment in her workplace. After almost two long years of fighting the case, the court finally made a decision in her favor on May 22. CFWIJ welcomes the verdict which prevents encouraging tendencies to similar cases. 

On September 3, Tehreem tweeted that she is no longer airing the show she was hosting because of discrimination, harassment, slander, and poor management. She stated that she was harassed in the studio at Samaa FM.

A lawsuit was filed upon her complaint. Her case is about persistent hostility of the working environment in addition to the harassment she faced at the workplace.

Tehreem also claimed that the management of Samaa FM had deleted the CCTV footage which was the only evidence of what happened in the studio rather than taking action.

 “They’re delaying justice because they’re sure it’ll be denied. It has been more than two weeks, and even the inquiry has not been completed yet,” she said.

“I refresh my email inbox every day hoping that they would have sent me an inquiry report and told me that the culprits had at least been suspended. But no! They have no respect for the issue at hand,” she also said in a subsequent tweet.

She announced her resignation on Twitter on September 4, 2018.

The court issued to penalize the accused people under section 4(4)(ii)(e) of Protection against Harassment of women at the Workplace the Act, 2010 and directed them to pay fine of Rs. 1,00,000/-(one lac) each as compensation to the complainant within 30 days from passing of this order through the office of this forum without fail.

It was also stated in the verdict that officers of Saama didn’t want to take action. The testimony of defense witnesses has established that the Chief Operating Officer Fahad Haroon had indeed met with her on August 21, 2018, and promised her to investigate the incident thoroughly but he did not constitute the harassment committee and has also admitted making a false statement before this office during his evidence.

All these prove that the place of employment of her is not safe against the instances of sexual harassment especially for women, thereby encouraging the accused and other personnel of the office to disregard the provision of related acts.

In Pakistan sexual, physical and professional harassment in the journalism industry are common. Often the occurrence of these incidents for a single woman journalist can be on more than one occasion and even be a series. These cases often get ignored by the industry and women are too afraid to take them on all the way to the court.

“We have seen in the last few years several cases of harassment filed by women journalists eventually dropped under peer pressure and at times threat of losing the job. It is not likely that women journalists would take on their harassers because if they would, they will be doing so without any support. Therefore Tehreem’s case is one of the rare cases which we hope will encourage more women to come forward and their peers to encourage them, and support them through what can be a long unbearable process,” Kiran Nazish.

“We appreciate the court’s decision which was excruciatingly delayed but rather welcome.”

Tehreem also announced that the court issued in favor of her on Twitter.

“5 years at a hostile workplace were not easy but I needed my salary. This doesn’t mean I was silent, I kept complaining to my boss who was also guilty of catcalling. Remarks ranging from body parts to men offering to abandon their homes for me. I didn’t know what was going to be their limit. “ Tehreem said when speaking with the CFWIJ.

“I am glad that after these almost 2 years of legal, mental and financial struggle, justice is served. But is it enough. My Radio career spanning a decade is ruined with no future prospects. “ she added.

“In a society where men at workplaces are usually making it difficult for women to earn their livelihood, AlhamdulillAh the judicial system was my last option and AlhamdulillAh it didn’t let me die of embarrassment. SAMAA FM deleted the footage of the incident. Never constituted a committee for interrogation, didn’t make a report instead of forced me to resign. The guilty still employed out of whom some were given appreciation letters so they could join other places before this verdict saw daylight. They tried their best to box me but Allah is The Greatest. May Allah protect the upright members of the judiciary. Because of whom victims like me have a chance.”

Tehreem also called out to her female colleagues and said, “I would like to say this to all my female colleagues in the field, be alert and whenever such an incident of harassment occurs do not be afraid, stand up and fight, do not quit, search for legal options and special platforms for harassment of women at workplace like Ombudsman. I fought this case in-person because I couldn’t afford a lawyer but this is just the beginning. SAMAA FM will file the appeal and also pursue at HC against a false defamation suit of 50crores against me. This battle is long, I might be short of resources but I will not quit.”

The Coalition For Women In Journalism welcomes the decision of the court in favor of Tehreem Muneeba. We demand media organizations to be more responsive to similar threats and harassments which women journalists are subjected to.