Sunday, December 20, 2020

How media fails to take up serious cases of rights abuse, 'normalizes' acts like illegal detention and other atrocities

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

A man was suspected of stealing a cell phone. Now, in order to force him to surrender, police brought his sister to police station, which was basically illegal detention of a woman who had nothing to do with her relative's actions.

She got traumatized and consumed poison, had to be rushed to the hospital. In case of VIPs--the rich and well-connected, this doesn't happen that other family members are forcibly taken to police station to put pressure--a sort of blackmail. 

Even in extremely heinous crimes, this doesn't happen that if an influential man is wanted, the police would take the kin to police station. But this is very common in case of ordinary citizens, poor, those with no connections. That's the difference, how law is misused.

The particular case is just an example. Now, the woman, is in hospital. Her brother, Vinod, is in police custody. The family members said that cops made the woman sign on blank paper & it had 'supurdnama' written on it. 

Later, when this was revealed, policemen had the audacity to say, 'we didn't beat her' & 'we let her go before sunset', etc etc. Imagine, they are not apologetic or worried about any action, in fact, they plainly state the fact--'we didn't beat her', as if illegal detention was okay. 

This is a regular practice. Just that someone is poor, their relatives are picked up and cops use the term, 'baithaya hai' for detaining the person. The fact is that no one else can be made to pay for someone's offence. 

In many cases a person is innocent and the charge if not correct but due to women relative or a family member taken to police station and illegally detained, the person agrees to appear, surrender and get arrested. No power can change it on ground.

As media doesn't report it, society doesn't know that such practices are illegal, common 

The worst aspect is that for general society, it is like 'how can it happen', 'we never knew'. Increasingly, these reports don't get published in big editions, just buried in regional page, unless someone dies. It is accepted in newspapers, 'ye to chalta hai', so ignore it.

The decline in standards of newspapers and the kind of editors coming as Editors who have little field experience & more happy to befriend one or two bureaucrats & consider it their lifetime achievement, even the basic, mild critical reports have no space in newspapers.

Basically, you can't even make people realise what's happening and the extent of the rot, if newspapers and media stop publishing it. Recently, a senior journalist who was being considered for the post of chief editor, was asked 'liasoning to kar lenge na' [You'll be able to liaison...?]. 

Certain dealings are expected in the interest of the media house owner. However, that's another aspect which needs a separate long post. Here the issue is that as media doesn't adequately report such instances and due to several reasons local journalists feel that it is the norm, the society remains oblivious to the extent of such acts and everyone gets to known only when they have to personally face it.