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Tamil media publish molestation victim's photographs, draw flak

| | Chennai | in Sunday Pioneer

Tamil newspapers and 24X7 news channels have opened a Pandora’s Box  by publishing and airing the name and photographs of the victim in the abduction and molestation case involving Malayalam cine actor Dilip.

Though laws and rules are clear in this regard that names of victims in molestation cases should never be aired and published the Tamil media have been openly flouting the rules from day one of the case which is reported to have taken place in February 2017. The pro-active Malayalam media was restrained in the coverage of the news though there were some aberrations from the part of social activists who posted the name of the victim in their social media sites. But all of them expressed regrets and deleted the names when it was pointed out that  what they have done was not fair.

The Tamil media, newspapers and TV channels went overboard and  aired the name as well as picture of the victim, herself a leading heroine in Malayalam and Tamil movies. The day the actor Dilip was arrested in connection with the case, Tamil channels were competing against one another in giving the details of the victim.

“This is really shocking, disgusting and deplorable. Any media professional, whether he/she is the junior staff or editor, is aware of the law that prohibits the publication of the name and picture of the victim. This was a major discussion during the Nirbhaya case in New Delhi. The authorities and people who matter in the media business have made it clear that the name of the victim should never be aired in such cases,” said T G Mohan Das, a respected media personality and TV anchor person in Kerala. He pointed out that the Press Council of India and the broadcasting council has set rules and regulations. ‘These agencies should take legal action against the media houses which violated the norms,” added Das.

Tamil actor Kamal Haasan also finds himself  at the receiving end  of this incident as a social activist based in Kochi has approached the court with a plea to take legal action against the former for naming the victim in social media . Salim Kumar, national award winning Malayalam actor who unintentionally uttered the name of the acress during a live TV discussion expressed public apology for the faux pas. Aju Varghese, another Malaylam actor who posted the name of the victim too was questioned by the police and his mobile phone seized over the incident.

K A Johny, veteran scribe and columnist, expressed shock over the callous attitude of Tamil media. “It is an open secet that Tamil media has a propensity to sensationalise any kind of news. But they should have been careful in this case as there are clear laws and rules which prohibit the publishing of names of victims. One cannot take recourse by offering the alibi that they were ignorant of laws. The law enforcing agencies should take action against the violation and hand out exemplary punishment to those who transgressed the limits,” said Johny.

Karthik Chelvan, chief of Puthiya Thalamurai, a 24X7 news channel said on Saturday that he had directed his team not to ait the name or picture of the victim. But the damage has been done, pointed out Das and Johny.




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