Protecting the privacy of rape victims and others

A few days back, India Today reported that National Award winning child actor Shweta Basu Prasad was arrested in Hyderabad for allegedly being involved in a prostitution racket. The report further stated that “the actor released a statement in which she said she was out of money and had no other way to support her family,” and also stated that “The police said they have also arrested several well-known businessmen along with the actor.”

THE HOOT reports that “A journalist cannot publish the name of the rape victim in the report. If he does so he will violate the Norms of Journalist Conduct released by the Press Council of India. He will also be prosecuted under Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code and maybe punished with imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to pay fine.”

In another case, a model in Mumbai has accused Deputy Inspector General of Police Sunil Paraskar of sexual assault and rape. This report by DNA mentions that the model and Paraskar “had heated arguments over the latter’s alleged closeness to model Poonam Pandey.”

This raises the following questions:

1. Isn’t it reasonable to expect that, until she is convicted, a woman who is allegedly involved in a prostitution racket is treated on par with a rape victim? This means Shweta Basu Prasad’s name should not have been published.

2. While Shweta’s name and details about the films she has acted in have been published, the names of the ‘several well-known businessmen’ who were arrested along with her have not been mentioned. Why this discrimination?

3. In the second case, the complainant’s name has not been revealed, and correctly so. However, why has Poonam Pandey’s name been revealed? Shouldn’t the report have mentioned “the latter’s alleged closeness to another model” or “the latter’s alleged closeness to a rival model”?

4. While the privacy of a rape victim is correctly protected, why is the name of the alleged rapist published? Isn’t it reasonable to expect that he should be treated as innocent until proven guilty? What if he is genuinely innocent and is being falsely implicated?

10 thoughts on “Protecting the privacy of rape victims and others

  1. This has been hanging over my mind and you wrote it…thank you for asking those plausible questions….when there will be real responsible reporting devoid of scandalising an event motive to gain readership, I guess we will not read unjustified articles like these

  2. More often than not, the guilty get away with the crime and the innocent are the victims, Pro. Also, you know how it works with our police – they thrash anyone they can lay their hands on, sadly. It is a vicious cycle that rotates in direct proportion to the connections that exist. 🙂

    • The police have to show that they are working. They arrest a couple of persons who are not powerful enough, but let the powerful offenders get away. This happens much more in rural areas where 24/7 media is not available.

  3. I think in our nation to make sure that their magazine or newspaper sells .. media resorts to such cheap ways..

    You are right why some names and not all..
    I am all for name and shame but i also say that now that the names of some models are out.. will the same people apologise for putting this story is proven wrong..

    The business men probably had enough money to not let their name out..

    Sad sad state of affairs

  4. These are cases that prove that law is not merely an ass but a perfect ass.
    Cases hanging fire for years and undertrials languishing in jails for years, but people like Manu Sharma and Sanjay getting paroles, Salman Khan’s case diary missing and with two cases he is still out and free!

  5. I have chosen to not follow this case, this kind of muck is really very upsetting. But I am really not surprised to hear how the woman’s name and history is being dissected while the “well-known businessmen” are being protected. The whole criminal justice system is in shambles, that’s what I feel sometimes.

  6. We need media that will give us news as is. Right now everything we read or watch is biased. Half truth can ruin more than an outright lie. Media powerhouses need to reflect on whether they want to stick to rules and regulations or remain viewership-hungry.

  7. APPALLED by the callousness of police and MEDIA regarding this… seething and fuming why her only?
    if they are so sure of doing a ‘samah sudhaar’ why not the identity of the ‘CLIENTS’ let the society be aware/beware of them also…. let their wives, mothers, daughters know what their MEN do for de-stressing …………
    A talented girl , perhaps in the moments of weakness or lure of glamour money got into this ….. then what about the pimps?
    the big shot ‘ clients’ ?
    Such a beautiful , intelligent and talented girl … am really sad and disheartene d.. It felt like in her fate I too was somehow responsible… to be not able to provide better environment and judgement to her…
    Shame for US ALL
    and shame for the government where National Award Winners have to stoop to such conditions……. PRO, INDIA IS SHINING so hard ..It Hurts 😦

  8. Media these days does not abide by any rules or laws. And people have already said that she deserved it because she was into this business. I am not supporting the actor’s involvement in the racket, but why didn’t any of these people who are blaming her go and offer help when she was in dire need? And because the businessmen in question have money to shower they are not being named. Gone are the days when a news item was properly scanned and improved multiple times to not let such instances occur. These days it’s just selling masala. Sad. Really sad.

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