Suicide of Indian-origin reporter sparks calls for probe in Canada

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Toronto
  • Updated: Jun 08, 2016 18:33 IST
Raveena Aulakh, 42, worked in the past for HT City in Chandigarh. She reportedly committed suicide on May 28. (Toronto Star)

The suicide of an Indo-Canadian correspondent for Toronto’s highest circulated daily has roiled Canada’s media world amid calls for an independent investigation into the tragedy.

The 42-year-old Raveena Aulakh, who worked in the past for HT City in Chandigarh, reportedly committed suicide on May 28 but it did not become public till very recently.

In an article in the newspaper she worked at, Toronto Star, its public editor Kathy English wrote that Aulakh had made “revelations and allegations” about the staff at the newspaper in emails she sent to several people in the newsroom “shortly before she died”.

English said “the last thing this award-winning global environment reporter wanted was to be the focus of this story about her suicide and its aftermath”. English wrote Aulakh explicitly asked her paper not to publish an obituary.

“Those emails revealed that Raveena and Jon Filson, the senior manager, who had led the Star’s tablet project in the past year, had been involved in a relationship for some time that had ended recently. Further, the clearly heartbroken reporter made allegations in those emails about an improper relationship between Filson and his boss, managing editor, Jane Davenport,” English wrote in her article, which appeared on Wednesday.

Filson is no longer with the newspaper and Davenport has been moved out of the newsroom while editors conduct an internal investigation.

Meanwhile, Unifor Local 87-M, the union that represents the Star’s employees, has sought an independent investigation into the tragedy.  It sent a memorandum to the company and stated that “for transparency’s sake, we are calling for a third-party investigation into a newsroom tragedy”.

 Aulakh was an award-winning environmental correspondent who often reported from her native India and neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh.

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