Indian media, or at least what constitutes the mainstream fourth estate of this country, is no saviour of women’s rights, or at the very least concerned about women’s safety, leave alone it being a platform from where voices of justice for various victims are amplified. The incidents of Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, in recent days, where a 19-year old girl was allegedly gang-raped by four men, has converted the area surrounding the village where the alleged crime took place into a media tourist spot, with journalists from various news networks devising new techniques to make an absolute clown out of themselves, even as some took to verbally harassing police personnel on duty.
It did not take long for the national media to descend upon Hathras in UP subsequent to the victim succumbing to her injuries. (Mind you, nobody batted an eye while she was alive.)The media, which in India does not know the minutest detail about reporting ethics, took to nauseating levels of moral grandstanding while behaving in a manner which would have the uninitiated believe that journalists on the ground are the only ones pursuing justice for the victim, and that all action taken is due to their relentless fight against a system hell-bent upon subverting the truth. That the Prime Minister himself has taken stock of the situation on the ground and directed fast-tracked and strict action on the case is a detail which the media would like to ideally give a miss.
We hate to break it to them, but the media thinking so highly of themselves is laughable. For an industry which took to leaking photos of Sushant Singh Rajput’s mortal remains and circulating the same on social media, it is a bit rich to even pretend to be a conglomeration of people pursuing nothing but the ultimate truth. If leaking such photos on social media was anything less, a section of the media even took to broadcasting such pictures on national television. Then, how a section of Indian media took to whitewashing Rhea Chakraborty and her family’s alleged role in the death of the late actor has been out for all to see.
News networks who did not shy away from acting as personal PR agencies of Rhea Chakraborty and Bollywood hegemons are today lamenting on social media about what this country, specifically Uttar Pradesh has become, in subtle references to the Yogi Adityanath-ruled state as one where brute police force thrives. Apparently, journalists from certain news channels have, therefore, taken it upon themselves to harass police personnel on duty, as an overenthusiastic ABP reporter took to creating quite the scene in Hathras and the victim’s village, owing to which the police were forced to pack her in a vehicle and forcefully get her out of the village which was out of bounds for the media until recently due to the ongoing SIT investigation.
ABP News journalists on the ground, in their unending motivation to make news a theatrical experience for the viewers, launched a ‘satyagraha’ against the UP police and administration, even as the reporter from the network was seen sitting on the road in protest. Such is the condition of Indian media that Pradip Bhandari was physically assaulted in Mumbai by reporters of rival channels, specifically by a journalist representing ABP News, for which the CEO of the organisation also commended the man.
Just leaving the image out there in case it is deleted. This is the reporter who attacked @pradip103, and here is the note his CEO has sent him which he has proudly displayed on social media. https://t.co/wSNG8E4TOc pic.twitter.com/JvFSVfbnUb
— Ajit Datta (@ajitdatta) September 26, 2020
This is our respected journalists representing major news channels. 😂😂 @ABPNews
ABP NEWS APOLOGIZE TO SRK pic.twitter.com/YiDMwhpYpr
— 𝐘𝐚𝐬𝐡 (@SRKianYash_) October 1, 2020
Whether it be Kathua, or Hyderabad, or any other rape case which the media cherry-picks to report on, it has been time and again caught brazenly defying Supreme Court directions of not broadcasting the name and identity of the victim, leave alone circulating their pictures on national television or social media, even as thumbnails. Yet, this industry does exactly the same, and having molested all ethics of journalism, finds the temerity to claim that it is the voice of the ‘people’, the ‘oppressed’ and the ‘victims’.
In Hathras, the media is indulging in a naked display of their shamelessness, further cementing beliefs of the fourth pillar of Indian democracy, in fact, is comprised of vultures, who are willing to make a joke out of a tragedy only to further their own demented interests, most of which usually are driven by an unending thirst for gaining TRPs. Getting confrontational on the ground, meanwhile, being also dictated to reporters from the bosses who sit comfortably in studios, and make merry as the sick drama which unfolds upon their own directions finally makes its way to the TV screens, thereby garnering extra eyeballs for the channel concerned.
The truth is, not one media organisation can today claim honestly that they have landed in Hathras to bring justice to the victim and her family. With every tragedy, Indian media has mastered the art of exploitation. Come every cherry-picked news of injustice or criminality from any part of the nation, the media takes it upon itself to fool the people, by putting up a grand show of how they are pursuing the truth, when in fact, all that they are doing is frothing at the prospect of raising their advertisement prices for the duration of the specific news getting widespread coverage.