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Four men convicted in Indian photojournalist's rape case

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reiterates its call for a strict "no tolerance" stance on sexual violence and harassment of female media workers following the judgement of an Indian court on Thursday March 20, 2014 convicting four men on charges of gang rape of a photojournalist in 2013 in Mumbai, India.

A court in Mumbai found the men guilty on charges related to gang rape of the 23-year-old photojournalist, who was on an assignment as a trainee for an English magazine, in an abandoned mill building in Mumbai on August 22, 2013.

The trial judge Shalini Phansalker Joshi convicted Vijay Jadhav, 19, Mohammad Qasim Shaikh, 21, Mohammad Ansari, 28, and Siraj Khan, 21, for the photojournalist's gang rape. A minor, who was also charged, is being tried by the Juvenile Justice Board separately. Three of the men and one other man were also found guilty of another gang rape in the same area.

The IFJ said: "Justice has been delivered for a photojournalist who was brave enough to report the case immediately - despite warnings from the assailants."

The horrific case follows a concerning pattern of incidents in India's media bringing heightened public awareness about rising cases of sexual violence generally across the country.

The IFJ said: "Lives and journalistic careers can be jeopardized by a culture that, by inaction, condones a culture of sexual violence or harassment. This is a situation that simply cannot be tolerated."

The IFJ endorses the actions of its Indian affiliates in taking a stand against harassment and sexual violence in the media in India. That means ensuring the safest possible working conditions for female media workers as they go about their daily duties; campaigns on gender equity and education on sexual harassment; and an independent and robust process for complaints that adequately takes into consideration the need for confidentiality for victims.

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