Archive for April 19th, 2009

‘FIR is not a license to titillate or sensationalise’

19 April 2009

Eight women’s groups protested before the headquarters of The Times of India group in Bombay on Saturday, accusing the tabloid Mumbai Mirror of sensationalising the story of a rape victim and violating her right to privacy.

The tabloid, ironically edited by a woman (Meenal Baghel), had published in entirety the statement made by the victim to the local police, detailing her age, her country of origin, her home-state, the course she was enrolled in at the Tata Institute of Social Sciencies (TISS), the name of her course coordinator, etc.

The cover story, under the joint byline Deeptiman Tiwary and Dipti Sonawala, did not reveal the victim’s name but by revealing the other details in an inside story by Tiwary, left no scope for her identity to remain confidential, say the groups.

Mirror carried an apology on Saturday after many readers wrote in to complain about the graphic descriptions of the rape but the groups want the paper to apologise to the 23-year-old victim.

“An FIR may be a public document, but it’s not a document that is meant to titillate or sensationalise,” Nandita Gandhi of the group Akshara was quoted by The Hindu as saying.

Read the full article: Women’s groups protest newspaper report

Photograph: courtesy Vivek Bendre/ The Hindu

Link courtesy V. Anand

‘The media is as guilty of neglect as politicians’

19 April 2009

Is the Indian media as guilty as those in the Indian polity in the “neglect” of the country it covers (and uncovers)? At least two well-known journalists, from opposite ends of the ideological spectrum,  seem to think so.

Kalpana Sharma, formerly of The Hindu, writes on the media website, The Hoot:

“Elections are a time when the media discovers India, the real India.  If people complain that their Members of Parliament only visit their constituencies once in five years, the same can be said about the media.  In the run up to any election, municipal, assembly or parliament, you find newspapers full of stories about the “real” conditions in which people live, stories that could have been written at any point in the previous five years.”

Tavleen Singh writes in The Indian Express:

“We in the media are almost as much to blame as the political class because we spend far too much time talking about stupid things and ignoring what is crucial. Throughout the election campaign we have spent so much time discussing the foibles and failings of the Gandhi progeny that we have found little time to talk of real issues. I got so tired of hearing important journalists discuss the badness of Varun Gandhi and the goodness of Rahul and Priyanka that I stopped watching the news channels. How many times did we hear serious discussion of why our public services are such a mess or why after 60 years of Independence our political leaders are unable to provide clean drinking water? Or why unplanned urbanisation has put Bharat Mata well on the road to becoming a continent of slums by 2050.”

Is this just heroic self-flagellation?

After all, aren’t there islands of sanity in the media, print and electronic, which cover the bijli-sadak-pani issues on a realtime basis day after day, month after month, year after year?

If frivolous media “brands” erected on the 4Fs—food, fun, fashion and fornication—thrive to the point of wiping out the serious media, what does it say about the concerns of the lay reader, viewer, listener, surfer?

Is the news consumer too guilty of neglect?

Read the full articles: Poll time reality check

Vote for governance

Also read: How the media misses the woods for the trees

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