Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two rapes, two media yardsticks

Perhaps nothing exposes media’s double standards better than the two recent cases of reporting involving two females: one in Bihar and other in Uttar Pradesh.
While media, electronic as well as print, rightly pursued the gang-rape story of a Nishad, an extremely backward caste girl in Uttar Pradesh it virtually blacked out a similar incident in Bihar, where ironically a Brahmin lady principal of school, Rupam Pathak, in her 40s, was allegedly raped several times by a BJP MLA and his aide.
There is one thing common in both the stories: the involvement of ruling party MLAs and their aides. While in UP the chief minister, Mayawati, at last got her own party’s Brahmin MLA arrested and the victim-girl released from jail when the media pursued the story in Bihar the media blacked-out the story so much that the victim woman had to take up the knife herself. On January 4 she stabbed to death the BJP MLA, Raj Kishore Kesri.
What is strange is that in case of UP even after Mayawati got Bahujan Samaj Party MLA Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi arrested, the media, especially the electronic channels, continued to criticize her for taking action one month later.
In Bihar Rupam, an upper caste educated woman had been undergoing trauma for last over three years, yet nobody dared to listen to her. At last when on April 18, 2010 she lodged an FIR against the MLA the deputy chief minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, who is the senior most leader of the BJP in the state, dubbed her blackmailer. A Local English weekly of Purnea, the town of Rupam and the MLA, carried a story based on the FIR. The state media grossly underplayed it and the national channels never deemed it fit to give any space to it.
However, the charges levelled by Rupam Pathak were serious. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, while on his visit to Purnea during Vishwas Yatra after this development, refused to share dais with the said MLA, (now late) Raj Kishore Kesri. However, his deputy Sushil Modi, while delivering his speech from the same dais openly defended the MLA making it loud and clear for the administration not to listen to the victim’s complaints. She was forced to withdraw her statement before the court.

From Soroor Ahmed's blog in More Here

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