Winner of the highly prestigious 'Outstanding Case Writer' award, organized by the UK-based The Case Center, 2018

Breaking the Code of Silence

Breaking the Code of Silence
Case Code: BECG151
Case Length: 11 Pages
Period: 2013
Pub Date: 2018
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization: Tehelka
Industry: Media
Countries: India
Themes: Ethics, Giving Voice to Values, Sexual Harassment
Breaking the Code of Silence
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


In November 2013, Nina’s 2 world turned upside down. Nina was a Senior Correspondent at Tehelka, an Indian weekly news magazine. She found herself caught in a nightmare. She sat at her desk and recalled the traumatic events of the past week: "As a reporter for Tehelka who writes on violence against women, I suddenly find myself in the horrific situation of discovering what it is like to be on the receiving end of this violence from a powerful man I once deeply admired and respected." According to Nina, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tehelka and veteran journalist, Tarun Tejpal (Tejpal), had sexually assaulted her in an elevator of a five-star hotel on two occasions during THiNK Fest 2013, an annual conference organized by the magazine in Goa, India.

In the line of fire was the founder of Tehelka, a celebrated journalist who had broken new ground in investigative journalism using sting operations. Tejpal, 52, was considered a crusader for women’s rights and a champion of the underprivileged. He was the man behind the success of the trailblazing Tehelka (a Hindi word which means 'Sensational'), one of the most influential investigative magazines in India known for its hard hitting news and analysis. Since its inception, the publication had made a name for itself through its sting operations, going after corrupt politicians and other lawbreakers. The magazine was associated with fearlessness, integrity, and truth and was respected by the media fraternity for its fearless coverage of politically sensitive issues, and issues related to gender equality and religious violence.

Fearing retribution, Nina was reluctant to file a complaint against the powerful Tejpal. Should she speak out or let it go? It was a difficult decision to make, but her feminist leanings and inner conscience would not let her be silent. She thought about it constantly. When she finally decided to speak out, she found herself in a dilemma – What should she say, to whom, and when? What would be at stake for her?

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