Sunday, October 31, 2010

Indian Media: an accessory for Crime?

Something for the media to think about
Arundhati Roy on The Hindu

What is the nature of the agreement between these sections of the media and mobs and criminals in search of spectacle? Does the media which positions itself at the ‘scene' in advance have a guarantee that the attacks and demonstrations will be non-violent? What happens if there is criminal trespass (as there was today) or even something worse? Does the media then become accessory to the crime? This question is important, given that some TV channels and newspapers are in the process of brazenly inciting mob anger against me. In the race for sensationalism the line between reporting news and manufacturing news is becoming blurred. So what if a few people have to be sacrificed at the altar of TRP ratings? So, while the Government is showing a degree of maturity, are sections of the media and the infrastructure of democracy being rented out to those who believe in mob justice?  But why are sections of the mainstream media doing the same? Is a writer with unpopular views more dangerous than a suspect in a bomb blast? Or is it a question of ideological alignment?

Flashback: Mangalore Amnesia Pub attack by the media & Moral Police

When a similar event happens in Mangalore, likes of Arundhati Roy cried hoarse on Women`s rights, Talibalization etc., 

None of the intellectuals protested against the  media - an associate in the crime! 
(instead of informing police and avoiding a "spectacle" local media chose to "encash" on "pub attack" by selling the "precious footage" and photos to national/international media houses)

Crime in Mangalore: Media is doing its job as per "freedom of the press"
Crime in New Delhi: Media acting as an accessory for Crime!!!

I have been advocating all the while on privacy and individual rights. Intellectuals like Arundhati Roy wake up, only when they become targets!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Air crash: a question for media

Courtesy of Uday Rodrigues/ Mediamirchi

MANGALORE is still in the shock of Air India Air crash in Mangalore. It is the most horrific incident happened in Mangalore as well as the biggest tragedy in Indian aviation history. The entire world stood and expressed their sympathy & condolences on all of the families who lost their beloved ones and prayed for the departed soul. The incident is still alive as the reason for this tragedy yet known & the investigation is in progress. The devastating air crash in Mangalore has raised many issues on AI, runway & the airport. I would like to raise the issue of publishing photographs of dead bodies in the print and virtual front pages of most major news papers & the online websites.

I think the media has got something very important to consider when deciding what photographs to publish. Publishing the photographs that are so grotesque that it's almost disrespectful to the person viewing the photograph may disturb the week hearted people. Image of carrying the body of an injured/dead baby seriously devastating, especially to someone who is young, woman or weak. Yet, I would assume that the photographer’s purpose in taking the picture is to show how completely devastating this event was but its is seriously awful to view. One of my friend who is working for the medical field, she expressed her views like this “We all are so close to this incident and the photographs still come to my mind, though I am a medical professional, I would definitely can’t see such painful scenes…huhhh!!’ One of my other friend said that he can’t see the local news papers in Mangalore, it gives pain. I am personally, not visiting the online news websites which I usually visit since i saw some photographs. Some people even went ahead & uploaded photographs of dead bodies in Facebook which they shot on the spot of the incident.

Now here are some possible questions to consider.

1. What purpose would you have in showing such images?

2. What consequences do you foresee from depicting such images?

3. What will it want and/or need to see to understand such death?

4. What impact will images of death have on the viewers?

5. Will such pictures help the viewers understand the truth(s) of this tragedy?

6. Will the images help to make the people more knowledgeable about this horrific incident?

7. Just imagine, if any of your loving person was in that flight, would you like to show his/her body into pieces?

I remember the tragic death of AP Chief Minister YSR; the photographs were available but never published in any TV channels. Respecting the dead is very much appreciated in the western media and the western world . For all the years that American and British soldiers have died in what many now accept was an illegitimate war in Iraq, I have never seen a picture of blown up bodies or pieces of those soldiers in the western media as an attempt to show the world how gruesome the war has been.

Local media in Mangalore has always done a great job. It may the church attack, pub attack and now the worst tragedy of air crash. But I do strongly feel, publishing the photographs of dead bodies was not a good idea or its like lack of respect for dead people and their families. News organizations should decide about showing images of death will help or hinder the public understanding of this tragedy or it will make them to feel more horrific. I do feel they should avoid publishing, or refuse to show, such images.

These are my views. You agree with me or do not agree, please don’t forget to leave your honest comments here. We can bring it to the attention of our local media and there can be a change. I thank some of my friends who supported me to write this short article. God bless Mangalore.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ban entry of Media/ Politicians into hospitals during mass casualty management!

Fire at Bangalore's Carlton Towers: Bangalore, Feb 23: A massive fire has hit the third floor of the Carlton Towers in Bangalore, killing three and trapping many office goers around the peak office hours this evening. At least five people may have died in the Carlton Towers since they jumped out from the fifth and sixth floors of their office building in Bangalore on Tuesday. Survivors were treated at Manipal Hospital
Mediamen barge into the hospital: minutes after the first patient was wheeled into the Manipal Hospital, harassment by mediamen started...they barged into no entry/ no photography zones of the hospital, started photographing/ videographing hapless victims, who were still under shock...They even tresspassed into sterile areas like Emergency ward/ ICU and even wards!  

When some relatives/ patients requested them not to take photo, they did not bother...all that mattered for the mediamen was a crying face/ breaking news!

Useless Exercise by VIP`s:  like visiting the victims  in the hospital (in what way it helps?), which will not only hamper the medical management but also burdens the doctors & hospital staff (who should be treating the patients!). It also burdens the local administration and the police – who otherwise should be involved in relief measures/ investigations
What is the use of parading in the Hospitals, with mediamen? Will this "show" help in any way to any individual? The police personnel, who otherwise have other serious issues to tackle, will end up "escorting" these politicians! Rather than these publicity stunts, VIP`s should be busy in tactical planning! They should also order investigations by town planners/ fire personnel, to prevent future calamities...
NABH guidelines to Hospitals: NABH certified hospitals should have a disaster/ mass casualty protocol. According to the protocol, media management, information to relatives through media is essential. However mass casualty situation does not give any rights to mediamen, to barge into private/ secure/ sterile areas of the hospital. In fact this kind of unrestricted entry into hospital by those posing as mediamen can cause a serious security issue, apart from causing breach of infection control policy of the hospital.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Moral Policing by the Media?

There is NO justification for Drunken Driving/ Assault on Police. If the charges are true, they should be punished according to the law of the land. However there is no justification either for trial by media, disclosing the identity of the accused.
When Police teams are performing routine checks with alcometer, why have the media presence? that too visual media? The Mediamen may record such images, may blackmail the person in question (even if he is a teetotaller!) later! It is highly condemnable to record images of police activity, and use it in the lay press for titillation! Why have mediamen record video/ photo in the Police station, before they are even charged with the crimes?
Counter Point:
  1. Where is Justice Nayak, who is supposed to guard the Human Rights? It is well known that most muslim countries ban women from getting photo/ videographed...maybe these girls were shocked to see video cameras, so they must have tried to flee the scene...Later, the media was called to the police station too...where is the right to privacy?  When underworld goons are arrested police provide them the luxury of black face masks...but hapless women caught in the middle of the night paraded in front of cameras...
  2. Is it not moral policing by Media? How many drunken brawls by men get reported like this?...the same media houses which cried foul when pubs were raided last year, when the very same pink cheddy gangs which called for Pub Bharo...are now silent! (just because of the alleged attack on the media by these girls?)
  3. Thank God, there was no one in the vicinity wearing any saffron clothes! Otherwise National Council for Women, Amnesty, Transparency..etc would have raised a hue and cry!
Update on 2nd September 2012

Girl committed suicide after being photographed during accosting by police

IP Singh, TNN Aug 31, 2012, 12.34PM IST
Jalandhar: A teenager college student girl committed suicide by jumping before a train on Domoria Bridge on Thursday evening after she was reportedly photographed by a few photo journalists when she was accosted by police at a naka while she accompanied a boy in a car which had hit another car.
It seemed to be a case of over enthusiasm of police and photojournalists back firing as the naka was laid to check eve teasing and in the last few days Traffic police inspector Balwinder Kaur's Nakas and her on the spot punishment to eve-teasers had been making almost daily news and providing good photo opportunity to jurnos. (TOI)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Privacy: one of the fundamental rights of every citizen

Click on the image for full view
Courtesy: VijayaKarnataka/Mediamirchi

Monday, February 15, 2010

Terrorists get live coverage, Thanks to the Media

This ghastly photo taken at a Trauma Center was published in The Hindu. The media has no regard for any privacy/ ethics. Where was the need to publish such gory image? What about the invasion of privacy? Loss of dignity?
A day may not be far when terror groups in the guise of Mediamen, enter hospitals, cause secondary bomb blasts in the hospitals! (To Read more click here)
Don't Talk to Blast Victims, Pune Police Chief to Media

Pune, Feb 14: The media should keep away from hospitals in Pune where victims of the eatery blast are recuperating, the city police chief warned Sunday. "This is not just a request, it is our official direction," he said.
Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said at a press conference here that the media should not interview any blast victim, including those at hospitals.
"I want to appeal and request media persons not to go to hospitals where the injured are admitted or talk to them about the incident. This is against national interest.
"It is not just a request, it is also our official direction. Hospitals have also been directed to not allow anyone in the hospitals. Anyone violating this would have to face the consequences," Singh told reporters.
Nine people, including two foreign nationals were killed, while 60 people (48 Indians and 12 foreign nationals) were injured in the blast at the German Bakery Saturday evening.
While 19 of the injured have been discharged from hospitals, 41 are still undergoing treatment, Singh said.

But, as usual mediamen have already barged into the hospital, photographing, videographing hapless victims of terror bomb the terrorists get a live coverage of victims of their terror attack...thanks to the "terror friendly media" ! 

It is also a known phenomenon that Mediamen gate crash/ enter important venues without any pass/ identity card. Hence it becomes important to keep in mind the possibility of terrorist posing as a Journalist...especially when they are with electronic gadegets like cameras- which can easily conceal weapons/ explosives!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Privacy at Stake at Bangalore resorts?

A waiter at Golden Palms Spa & Hotel tries to sell photos of a private meeting to the media houses! Scary but true!

How private are your moments spent at the resorts/ SPA?

Today it is just a few photos of a private meeting, tomorrow it could be the video recording of your private moments spent at the resort & SPA?

When contacted, the management of the resort is callous about this serious breach of privacy...or are they hand in glove with their employees? Or is it an official policy to record guests activities??