Late evening on 12 April 2013, a group of students from Nalsar Law
University went to the Rain Club located in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, for what was meant to be a farewell party for the graduating seniors.
When they stepped out of the club around 10.30pm to wait for their cab,
one of the women students spotted someone taking their pictures with a mobile
phone. She objected and demanded to see the mobile. The mobile turned out to be a dummy, without a card in it. When she further objected and demanded that the phone with which photos were taken be handed over, other media cameramen who were present began to film the altercation.
The students were outraged at this invasion of their privacy and the
callous response of media cameramen who continued the harassment by following them to the car and persisting in filming them even as they were vehemently protesting this invasion.
The next morning several Telugu channels began showing the footage.
Some websites also put up the footage. TV9, ABN Andhra Jyoti, Sakshi TV, Studio N, NTV, IdlyTV, News 24 and the following links which were still active till
14th April 2013 carried the footage:
The incident represents blatant sexual harassment of women in a public
place, criminal intimidation of the women with threat of public defamation
through media. The anchors of the channels repeatedly referred to the women as
punch drunk, half naked, and nude, when the women students were dressed in
strapless evening wear. One of the female anchors referred to their attire
as “creepily offensive short clothes.” They also claimed that they
were dancing in the club although the entire story was played out on the street
and not inside the club. The media persons were not present inside the club. To
make matters worse, CVR News put together several clips of provocative dancing
from various sources, implying that the present incident was somehow connected
Significantly, while only a couple of channels were present outside the
club and were involved in the incident, the story was generously shared with
many other channels and web sites. All the channels replayed the footage
provided by the offending channels without providing any opportunity for the
victims of this coverage to respond or give their side of the story.
The channels also were assuming the tone of moral police, claiming that
the students were “leaving Indian traditions in tatters by their dressing and
behaviour”. The anchors of the channels took on the role of moral police
by commenting on the young girls’ clothing, even as the channels’ staple fare
for advertising revenue on their news bulletins comprises song and dance
sequences from films and film events featuring skimpily clad women doing vulgar
dances to vulgar lyrics. The reporters and anchors held forth on excessive
freedom for women and its “devastating” effects on society.
The channels also falsely claimed that the students’ behaviour was
condemned by women’s organizations even though they only showed the statements
of two little-known local politicians, thereby misleading public opinion.
Click here to sign the petition: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/TV_channels_should_Stop_Moral_Policing/?cTwOobb