Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Tehelka incident- Why the hue and cry?

The molestation of a young woman journalist by her boss, who, as one of the English news channel anchor puts it, ‘one of India’s best journalist’, has created ripples which have touched and 'shocked' the upper echelon of the society.

However, this is nothing new, Molestation in media, that is. I entered the ‘reverend’ Fourth estate in 2006. It has been 7 years now and I have seen and witnessed many such incidents, which have taken place not in elevators but inside the meeting hall where the bureau head or the editor in chief is taking the bureau meeting on how to cover stories, ironically, one such incident took place when the bureau was discussing how to 'cover' rising rape incidents in the national capital.

The assault happens in front of everyone, from the junior most reporters to the special correspondent. All sit and just wriggle in their chairs as their editor undress a woman reporter through his eyes. What choice do one have?

With time, any conscience in the mind of the editor that this ‘undressing’ will be witnessed by the other reporters who are present in the editor room, also fades. And with time, this ‘visual-rape’ is imbibed in the values of those who are working for that newspaper. This becomes a part of 'ethos'.  Soon enough ,the undressing of the female reporter by the editor is discussed over tea and fag, and forgotten with the last puff. This ‘talent’, one of the many that the editor possesses, becomes a part of his rich repertoire.

A close colleague of mine recently went to interview one of the most well known investigative reporter in India (He is synonymous with the concept of sting in India). The meeting lasted for 20 minutes and as she told me later, he was too informal with her. But, she took it as a sign that he was trying to make her comfortable so that his ‘awe’ does not affect the young reporter.

Later that night she received a message from his number- “You are beautiful. Your sultry and dusky color…”.The sentence ended with three dots.

This was a message that came from a 40 plus ‘senior’ journo to a girl who was in early 20s.  Was this molestation?  I leave it on your better judgment to decide this.

I understand the concern over the Tehelka incident that is being expressed by those who are outside the media fraternity, but it is a bit difficult for me to fathom that why the journalists are raising such an outcry over it. It is not that  the Tehelka incident has happened for the first time.  This clamorous conduct on their part amounts to something more than hypocrisy.

It is not the Nirbahaya moment for media as someone called it and it is not definitely the ‘chickens have come home to roost’ moment. It is just that the veil that covered the black albeit colorful conduct of the who’s who’s of the media has been blow, temporarily of course. People should just stop perceiving the media as a ‘holy cow’. It never was.

Sexual banter and assault emanates from the top. No reporter would have the courage to do anything bordering sexual assault if he knows that his editor is watching him and not her. It is they who have to take up the responsibility. Till that happens, we can continue with our protest on Twitter and the shows on news channels.   

4 comments:

bhaskar said...

be it in a meeting or in d cabin they have turned d game every time on their side either by threatening or by giving promotions to the victim..few adjust n forget the touch...few retaliate n hence journo like soumya reply so hard...thnks abhi bhai for a nice read.

Vatsala Shrangi said...

Hi Abhinandan,

This is Vatsala. So finally we see u here. It is very rightly said the things you mentioned in this article and very appropriate too.

Thanks

saif said...

i am totally agree wid u bro...but nothing is going to change stil we r demandng to change but its not coming...i knw be d change u wish to see but when??...i also heared that women got promotion early in media profession i dnt knw on wht basis.dis media always create awareness and information in the society but if d thing like dis happen in media itself than whre we trust,this is d reality yr....

Divya Chouksey said...

What a Shameless man.whats the update on this case?

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