28 April 2017 | Last updated 07:00 PM

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Media can’t be held responsible for the failure of state govts
Soumyadeep Roy | Sunday, 8 January 2017 AT 01:47 PM IST
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One city. Two different places at a distance of almost eight kilometres from each other. One night. That’s the scenario in which the infamous Bengaluru molestation cases happened. The narrative in the media began with the ‘mass molestation’ incident which happened when thousands of revellers had gathered around the junction of Brigade Road and MG Road to usher the New Year on Saturday. Social media was flooded with outrage over the incident, with the #Bengalurumolestation hashtag trending on Twitter. Even celebrities weighed in, with actor Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar saying they were hurt and saddened by the incident and called for swifter justice in such cases.

There was another incident, albeit an isolated one at Kammanahalli, where a woman who was getting down from an autorickshaw was harassed and molested by two lecherous youngsters. They’ve been caught. The law is working in its course. It’s like people were baying for blood and they’ve got it. Curiously, no one’s asking anything about the first incident of mass molestation. Under the speeches of misogynist politicians and functioning of lethargic cops, the media has started to change the narrative. Not one woman from the mass molestation incident has registered an FIR. Why is that so?

Primarily, whenever such shameful cases of crimes against women happen, the public is swift in pointing a finger at the media for ‘encouraging’ such instances. Films, websites, entertainment programmes and shows. All have been blamed. Is the media really responsible for such shameful acts of violence against women? Or are we making the media the scapegoat here?
The media is responsible for bringing us news, entertainment and the like. In such a scenario, how can the media be held guilty for the overwhelming lack of police personnel on the roads of Bengaluru on New Year’s Eve? Or are we asking the media to start behaving in a sterile and clinical manner? The media earns revenue through various methods. Why is their means of functioning questioned at a time when the government of Karnataka should own responsibility for the horrendous incident?

Deploying police personnel comes under the ambit of the Home Ministry. The Home Minister of Karnataka G Parameshwara instead of owning up and apologising at the very least downplayed the incident saying ‘such incidents’ happen elsewhere too. Is that irresponsible comment by the Home Minister the media’s fault?

How do we know Parameshwara said so? That’s because the media reported it. Is that wrong? The failure of the law enforcement agencies was also reported by the media. Is that wrong? The (lack of) developments in the case are also reported by the media. Is that wrong?

Hounding, labelling and branding the media is the classic case of ‘shooting the messenger’. Whatever happened to responsible consuming of information (that includes everything) by the public? Or are we too frustrated by the lack of justice that we want to bring the media to its knees, just because it is going about its job? We need to show patience and understand that not everything is encouraged by the media. The media is a mirror to everything in the world. If one doesn’t like what’s being shown, they can turn away. However, blaming the media for things going wrong and calling it an evil influence is not only shameful but also regressive. The public has to wake up. The public with media’s help should identify the real culprits and not ‘shoot the messenger’. Let’s change the facts of such incidents being called as ‘regular cases’. Let’s show determination and call out the government’s bluff, instead of bashing the messenger.


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