#EMVIESCARE: ET to boycott Ad Club, Press Club issues statement

15 Sep,2015

 

By A Correspondent [updated]

 

Even as the Advertising Club has stuck to its stand that it did whatever it could in the regard and has reprimanded event organiser Fountainhead and got an apology from the firm, Economic Times, clearly the largest and most influential business daily and also the preferred choice of advertising folk to break their stories, has decided to boycott all coverage of Ad Club events, it is learnt.

 

This isn’t the first time the Times of India group has boycotted a business entity. In the past, it has even boycotted the Tata group. Ironically, Emvies 2015 was sponsored by the Times Network, albeit only the television arm of the group. In fact, because the Times Network was the primary sponsor, other English business channels like CNBC-TV18 were not allowed to cover the event. One of the journalists accompanying the lady who was attacked works the TOI group.

 

Meanwhile, the Press Club Mumbai, the association of journalists which has also other members of the ecosystem as its members, has issued a statement on the incident (reproduced below). The Club has, in the past, raised several issues concerning freedom of speech and threats posed to journalism and journalists.

 

In fact it’s important that journalists across media entities take up this issue and ensure that their own organisations provide them more facilities (and protection) when they are being asked to cover late-night events. While the Ad Club (and hence part of the advertising fraternity) has exposed itself by not caring enough about the well-being of an authorised delegate of their event, we are sure other event organisers too aren’t adequately equipped to handle such eventualities. The issue is that will the officebearers of “other” organisations be as indifferent and casual in their response.

 

On the Advertising Club President, the charge is that if he couldn’t get there himself, he should have ensured that someone responsible at the Ad Club paid attention to this incident. There were enough senior members of the adfrat present – including those from amongst the winning teams. This includes the Chairman of the Organising Committee who was present at the venue.

 

According to an unofficially served account, Bipin Pandit, the long-standing head of the Ad Club secretariat, was attending to four women from a leading organisation who had passed out after excessive consumption of alcohol.

 

Meanwhile, the information we have received is that when the head of corporate communications of a large ad network reached out to a top functionary of the Ad Club, s/he was sloshed, but assured the corp comm head that things will be taken care of. And that s/he will take care of things and immediately sent two of his people to take stock. The people, it turned later, were college volunteers. We aren’t naming the people concerned as the information has not been verified by MxMIndia.

 

As per information received by MxMIndia, the police has got into action.  The police has reportedly asked the hotel for CC TV footage from within the hotel.

 

Certain sections of the media covering advertising and media events want heads to roll in the Ad Club. They are now waiting former Ad Club president Shashi Sinha to return from overseas and sort things out.

 

In the meantime, it would be advised to all to stay easy and observe restraint – especially on the social media. Outbursts on the social media and microblogs can be counterproductive, and divert attention. But we do expect the Ad Club to act on the issue, and make public its point of view.

 

The Mumbai Press Club Statement:

Attack on woman journalist: Mumbai Press Club deplores the casual attitude of The Ad Club and event agency Fountainhead

A lady journalist who was coming out of the St Regis (earlier Palladium), a 5-star hotel in Lower Parel, after covering the Advertising Club of Bombay’s Emvie awards, was brutally attacked by a ‘guest’ at the event around 11.30 pm on Friday night.

The lady journalist raised an alarm and the Phoenix Mall security staff managed to detain the offender, Rambabu Ramprakash Godia, who was in a completely inebriated condition. Initially, the organizers of the Emvee event, not made any move to summon the police to take the assailant into custody. The police were ultimately contacted by the fellow journalists. More shockingly, the Advertising Club, and the event coordinator, Fountainhead, made no move to intervene even after the police registered an FIR against the assailant’. The journalist repeatedly contacted the executives, but no assistance was rendered though she was in the police station till 3.00 am in the morning.

The role of the executives of The Advertising Club and Fountainhead was disgraceful to say the least as it was and their invitation the assailant Rambabu Godia managed to sneak into the event. The assailant is a peon at a garment shop, and had nothing to do with the advertising industry or the Emvie awards. It now turns out that an employee of Fountainhead, which organized the event, gave a complimentary pass to the assailant. The accused has been arrested and remanded in judicial custody till September 25.

We demand that the event organisers own up and apologize to the lady journalist and compensate her for her ordeal. The Ad Club and Fountainhead should also launch an internal inquiry and penalize those who were responsible for the lax security at the event. They must also make sure for future events that the safety of journalists especially women is provided for.

Rajesh Mascarenhas

Secretary, Mumbai Press Club

 

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