Former BFM guests call for transparent investigations into sexual harassment allegations

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 04 Dec 2018

PETALING JAYA: Former guests of BFM89.9 have called on the radio station to reveal details about the independent investigator it has hired to investigate damaging allegations of sexual harassment.

In a statement on Tuesday (Dec 4), thirteen female activists released a joint statement voicing their disappointment over the alleged sexual harassment and assault by the station's employees as well as claims of widespread predatory culture at the station.

"It is difficult for survivors of sexual harassment and assault to report their experience and this is made worse when the mechanisms set up to address their concerns are deemed unsafe or seen to protect the alleged perpetrators.

"Too often, cases of sexual harassment and assault go unresolved due to lack of confidence in the investigators and the integrity of the process itself.

"In this spirit, we call on BFM89.9 to share more details about the third party investigator, including criteria for their appointment," they said.

The women said it is important that the investigation protects the survivors, prioritises their wellbeing and that the investigation process is transparent.

"The third-party investigator must have the confidence of all those linked to the allegations as well as other employees who want to speak up," they said.

The group also urged the management to undertake an independent audit of its internal reporting mechanism.

"Weak processes for handling sexual harassment and assault are damaging and cause further detriment by repeated victimising of the survivors," they said, adding that a clear reporting processes with a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual misconduct or violence is needed.

"BFM89.9 has been among those at the forefront of the media industry pushing boundaries and giving space to voices and issues many other media organisations shy away from.

"We hope the station will be as bold in confronting the challenges before them today," they said.

They added that this incident should be a wake-up call to all media organisations to look into their own mechanism for dealing with sexual harassment and assault.

The statement was signed by Abby Latif, Aegile Fernandez, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Farah Rani, Jac SM Kee, Juana Jaafar, Katrina Maliamauv, Dr Lyana Khairuddin, Norhayati Kaprawi, Thilaga Sulathireh, Shamaine Othman, Suri Kempe and Syar S Alia.

The allegations first surfaced through a circulated email of alleged sexual harassment at the radio station involving its employees.

The email, written by a former employee, alleged that the management had not looked into these harassment claims seriously.

Founder Malek Ali said the company was committed to providing a safe environment "in which all members of our community can work without fear and threat of sexual harassment".

He said that as an extra precaution, the radio station was reviewing its reporting mechanism to ensure availability of safe channels for such serious matters to be dealt with.

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