Posts Tagged ‘TISS’

Why media must not rush to report FIR in rapes

28 April 2009

On the face of it, a First Information Report (FIR) may be a public document which can be obtained from the concerned magistrate. And once a judicial trial begins, the FIR and the evidence of the witnesses comes within the public domain as the judicial proceedings are open to the public.

However, this is not the case in rape cases, writes lawyer and human rights activist Monica Sakhrani, alluding to Mumbai Mirror‘s coverage of a rape case in which it very nearly identified the victim, which drew the ire of women’s groups.

“[Such publication] would lead to fewer and fewer women coming forward to register cases of sexual assault where in any case, women have to bear the blame of at best being stupid and at worst being promiscuous liars.

“It takes tremendous courage and strength to take recourse to law by a woman in a case of sexual assault where she stands to lose as much as the accused.

“One must also not lose sight of the fact that the legal discourse is fundamentally a patriarchal discourse with its value loaded binary of chastity versus promiscuity, shame versus brazenness.

“The very fact that the woman has ‘come out in the open’ by filing the case, condemns her and justifies a vilification campaign through use of arguments of public interest which are invasive of privacy. In effect the site of challenge of patriarchy is itself patriarchy. The press coverage and the publication of the FIR in this case is a case to point.”

Read the full article: Free speech and breach of privacy

Also read: ‘FIR is not a license to titillate or sensationalise’

Link courtesy Shobha Sarada Viswanathan

‘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

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