TODAY -

Media ethics on reporting rape cases deliberated
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, November 24 2012: A one day consultative workshop on 'Media Ethics in the Reporting of Rape Cases' was organized under the joint aegis of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) and All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) at Manipur Press Club here today.

During the workshop which was conduted with President of AMWJU A Mobi as moderator, various aspects of media reporting on such a sensitive issue like rape was deliberated threadbare.

Participating in the workshop as a resource person, News Editor and Head of Regional News Unit of AIR, Imphal, Dr Aribam Ibomcha Sharma (IIS) observed that the role of media is not only confined to serving the people in its best capacity but the emerging trend of media.

Noting that media has all pervasive and all-powerful impact on the society to make or unmake any individual, institution or any agenda, Dr Ibomcha maintained that wielding such great power and strength, the media cannot lose sight of its privileges, duties and obligation.

He pointed out that mediapersons should follow certain mandated ethics for ensuring objectivity and fairness in reporting, keeping in mind its cascading effect on the society as well as on the individuals and institutions concerned.

However, despite the best care, to err is human and media content is human creation and media cannot claim that it is always right, he said, while calling on the fourth estate to exercise utmost care in covering sensitive and complex issues related to human life and liberty, personal well being and dignity.

Commenting on the recent rape incidents and reporting in India that ignited debate on media ethics, Dr Ibomcha remarked that prejudiced and insensitive reporting is like second rape, causing the victim to feel violated all over again.

So, media should not give any report that will influence the outcome in due course of investigation of any case of sexual assault except it is overweighed by a noble and common cause of the masses.

Rupachandra Yumnam, Special Correspondent of Seven Sisters' Post, Guwahati, who was also present as one of the resource persons, noted that though ethics of media prohibit mentioning the real names and publication of the photograph of a rape victim, it is normally found to be carried prominently in newspapers and electronic media of the state.

"We sometime tend to think that without giving more emphasis on news related with rape cases, the news report of a particular paper or electronic media is irrelevant, which is actually not true.

Such type of reporting should be put to a halt altogether", he added.

A Ganeshor Sharma, Member secretary of Manipur State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA), also spoke on 'Legal provision and prohibiting publication of rape victim's names and particulars' during the workshop as a resource person.

In his observation, A Mobi said that the freedom given to the media is for the welfare and in the interest of the common people and not for the individual benefit of media persons.

He further stated that the media persons who are performing their duties day and night should understand and follow their ethics.

Media plays a big role in the welfare and overall development of the state.

Today's workshop would be an eye opener and would be of great assistance to media persons in performing their duties efficiently, he said and informed that a similar workshop wherein the Editors and the Sub-Editors would be invited to participate would also be organized by AMWJU shortly.


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