Anil Thakraney: Zee News’s coup

07 Jan,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

There are two distinct points of view on whether Zee News did the right thing with their one-on-one interview with the Delhi rape victim’s friend, who accompanied her on the bus. The Delhi cops are naturally pissed off and have threatened legal action against the channel. That’s because the cops came out quite pathetically in the said interview.

 

Some media folks believe that Zee should not have carried this story. One, because the case is sub-judice and the friend’s (he’s the key witness) testimony in public may affect the trial. Two, they believe it wasn’t morally correct to exploit an injured victim for TRPs and make him relive the tragedy all over again, that too just a few weeks after it happened. While there might be a point in this line of thinking, I smell something burning out here. Because this was a journalistic coup for the channel.

 

I am fully with the rest of the journalists who believe that Zee did the right thing. Even if the case is in court, the janata has every right to hear the man’s version. Because he had lived that very unfortunate situation, he knows better than anyone else on what exactly transpired that night. And what he said is pretty alarming. It was not just the criminals who did the rape victim wrong, the hangers-on who stood and did nothing and the cops who took their sweet time to react are also party to the girl’s death. These issues have to be exposed and discussed in public, because only then will real change happen. It won’t happen just by punishing the culprits.

 

I also liked the way the anchor handled the interview. It was professional and to the point, minus the hysteria (unusual for a Hindi news channel). And the anchor very rightly kept away from the rape itself. In fact, the victim wasn’t discussed much, and this we must appreciate. All in all, full marks to Zee News. This was a much needed effort after the channel’s senior personnel had been accused of trading news for money on another story.

 

And Zee News should ignore the nay-sayers. Every single media brand in this nation would have killed for this interview.

 

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PS: I am a little confused on why the media chose to keep the rape victim’s identity a secret long after she had passed away. This not only doesn’t make sense, it’s unfair to Pratibha Murthy, Nayana Pujari, Jyotikumari Choudhary and many others. And if you are wondering who these girls are, then that saddens me. It is the loss of public memory that one finds most depressing.

 

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