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India Media Owners As Censors

July 29, 2014

Press censorship seems to be back with a vengeance in India, says the New York Times in an editorial on 28 July. It cites the departure of editors Sidharth Varadarajan from The Hindu, Hartosh Singh Bal and Manu Joseph from Open magazine and Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose from CNN-IBN. Unlike during the Emergency, censorship is now being imposed by media owners. It mentions an article critical of BJP President Amit Shah by Rana Ayyub which was pulled out by DNA from its website. It is not without reason that Reporters Without Frontiers ranked India in February as one of the most restrictive countries in the world for press freedom,   

Here is a link to the editorial:

Six -year-old's Rape: Mediapersons Commit Scar-a-kiri

July 29, 2014

Television journalists seem to have scant regard for the privacy of their 'quarries.' This is what a relative of Mustafa, the skating instructor at a Bangalore school wrongly accused of raping a six-year-old girl said to Hindustan Times (on 29 July): 'One TV reporter came to our house on the night of the arrest posing as a policeman and took away a photograph of Mustafa. Less than an hour later, the TV channel started flashing the photograph. Next morning, most newspapers and channels carried the photograph.'

His wife, Ayesha, told HT, “Allah has listened to our prayers and given us a beautiful blessing on Eid.”

Mustafa's wife told HT that that irreparable damage had been done to her husband’s reputation.

Asked about the other case registered against Mustafa, she said, “The police are claiming that he was dismissed from the previous school for misbehaving with children. But I know that he quit the previous job because his salary was very low. After what has happened, what credibility does the police have now?'

Instead of remorse, a senior police official who had earlier claimed that Mustafa was the offender, insisted that Mustafa was a 'pervert' after child pornography was allegedly found in his laptop. 

The newspaper should have named the official instead of protecting his identify. It turns out that the rape happened on July 2 and not July 3 (when Mustafa was not even around). 

It is because mediapersons are not sceptical and do not ask searching questions that police officials get away with fiction. In view of the excesses of the media, TV channels and newspapers must come together to set up a system to redress grievances of media's victims. 

(Vivian Fernandes) 

(Photo courtesy DNA) 


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