CHURUMURI POLL: Should the media apologise?

ASHWINI A. writes from Bangalore: The release of Dr Rajesh Talwar, the high profile dentist arrested in connection with the double murder involving his daughter Aarushi Talwar and man servant Hemraj, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed a designated court that the agency had not found “any evidence” linking him to the murders, shows the perils of the media functioning as judge, jury and executioner in the era of round-the-clock news.

Once again.

Ever since Dr Talwar’s arrest on May 23, an overzealous and sensational media had speculated furiously on his involvement on the basis of bazaar gossip, leaks, plants, and other dubious sources. A moment of personal trauma became the object of a nation’s voyeurism despite the protests and protestations of the Talwar family and their lawyers. To the question “How will you compensate if the reports are found untrue?” the media had no answer. The time has now come.

Questions: Should the Talwars sue specific news organisations? Should the Indian media apologise for this disgraceful lapse in its professional conduct? How can the media set right the image of the Talwars that they so systematically demolished? Should the media use this case as an example of drawing up a code of conduct on reporting crimes that involve children, women, etc? Will it work? Will the Hindi media, which feasted on the double murder, be party to anything responsible like this? Will this case embolden I&B minister Priyaranjan Das Munshi to push the media code of conduct bill that he has been trying to push for a while, which, incidentally, the media has been opposed to?

Most importantly, does the reading, viewing, listening public have any concern for good taste or is the media only mirroring and feeding its base instincts and prurient tastes, as evidenced by its coverage of the Aarushi-Hemraj murder and countless other cases across the nation?

Does the public, in other words, want a responsible media at all? And is it capable of demanding it?

Also read: Is narco-analysis test only for the poor and illiterate?

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35 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Should the media apologise?”

  1. Premnath Says:

    It is interesting to see Churumuri suddenly taking the holier than thou attitude “hey those damn media people” when you are no less guilty of the same police/judge/jury during Padmapriya episode what with all those dozens of questions and what not!!

  2. Harkol Says:

    From the very beginning the premise that a father & mother together would kill their only daughter, on whom they had invested 14 years of emotional and financial equity, was incomprehensible. Especially with the reasons being as flimsy as an affair (Which at the most may embarrass a parent in the eyes of a kid, but not much more).

    But, many chose to believe it, especially the Police and the Media. That is the sad part.

    Any crime should have strong motive, especially crimes that harm the close relatives. Simple rational of this nature wasn’t given any credence (Except in more mature media houses like NDTV).

    Watching TV channels like TV9, Aajtak/Headlines today, India TV, Star News and even CNN-IBN at times is painful, for they follow a competitive yellow journalism.

    NDTV, which has for long been very dignified, at times perhaps gets caught in this game too!

    Really sad state of affairs.

  3. Anonymous Guy Says:

    If the media hadn’t made the case public and asked many questions, the state police might have had their way and Talwar would probably be counting bars by now. Very likely that the CBI wouldn’t have gotten involved and couldn’t have done its narco and other analyses and come to its new conclusion.

    Not defending the yellow journalism indulged in by a section of the media, but given a choice between total state/police/bureaucratic control and sensationalism by the media, I would anyday choose the latter.

    The specific programs in TV channels and specific reporters in print who indulged in speculation could however make/write an honest episode once the dust settles down on the issue. If the Talwars want they can sue any particular program/article, but it would be very difficult for them to make any allegations stick given the murky nature of the case (how did they not notice things happening in the next room, why did they keep/allow middle aged man ‘servants’ to stay at night/party in the ‘servant quarters’ etc.), and given the way the state police themselves conducted the investigations initially and gave press releases.

    The media responsibility should come from within. The code of conduct bill will just be another weapon in the hands of our power hungry, soulless, scheming politicians to hide their nefarious activities.

  4. Alok Says:

    The prurient public got what it wanted. The Talwars have been exonerated. The media can give itself a pat on the back for raising the issue of police incompetence. Who loses here?

    Oh right, I forgot.. people with DECENCY!

  5. Raja Krsnan Says:

    Media in this country is an IRRESPONSIBLE institution. They report everything with a bias. They are masters in misreporting. They twist facts and are more than willing to peddle sophisticated lies on behalf of criminals, anti-nationals and minority vested interests. Instead of reporting what they saw, they push imaginary facts to suit their bias. I can say with certainty that media is a Dis-Honourable profession, atleast in the present setup.
    There should be a code of conduct imposed on media, whether they like it or not. Lapses should be punished severely by imposing fines that could cripple the media house permanently. Individual jounalist should also be punished the same way as the media house being punished. Responsibility and accountability is not a thing to preach about, but to be practiced by onself first.

  6. Nitin Says:

    Cops and media should be sued. The Talwars did not even get a chance to mourn their daughters death with all the sloppy investigation and media reporting anything that could make it sensational they ended up being victims themselves.

  7. krish Says:

    like nitin said they should be made to pay… and the noida police must be severly dealt with… secondly… the media should stop going further on the issue… i mean they are takin it to such a level that they are makin a joke out of it…. c’mon man its the death of a 14 year old girl…. and thirdly our rules are totally bad…. i mean why should dr.talwar pay to get out of jail when hes done nohing… they are already in sadness of their daughters death and now the bail…. wat crap!!!

  8. etvraviraja Says:

    Trial by media is always bad.
    Media never apologizes…remember the news of arrest of nazi? did they apologize for the goof up, no…
    self restraint for media is an oxymoronic situation…
    what matters is whether you have filed an “item” for the next breaking news slot…as it is the sole source of your income…so file a story at any cost!, if there is no story, create one…

  9. KolikeRanga Says:

    Lets not forget that it was the “Trial by Media” which brought justice in the Jessica Lal and Priyadarshini Mattoo cases. In a country with shoddy investigating agencies, it should be the media’s responsibility to keep them on their toes. Anyway, if it wasn’t for the media crying hoarse over the Noida Police imbroglio, Dr.Talwar would still have be counting bars and the police would be beaming with pride for having cracked the case with all it’s sleaze theories.

  10. Faldo Says:

    The Talwars have every right to sue specific channels or reporters for the trauma it caused them. How about the media initiating some measures for self censure either through existing bodies like the press council or with a new council created for this purpose? Every professional body has committee’s or groups that impose penalties for unethical behavior or malpractices. So it is only logical that the media have such a body.

  11. jeevarathna Says:

    There should be a ban on Police persons coming before the media for answering questions regarding any crime which is under investigation. only this will ensure free and unhindered and unbiased investigation. Police should be answerable only to judiciary and no one else. Just come on the national media and hog those few seconds of limelight, these ill equipped and uncouth Police officers sensationalize any crime and render miscarriage of justice.

  12. Anonymous Guy Says:

    An uncouth and open media is one of the few defences we have against our corrupt and closed government machinary.

    Gag the press and the judiciary and we will be one step closer to being a banana republic.

  13. SumneNeeve Says:

    Anon says: An uncouth and open media is one of the few defences we have against our corrupt and closed government machinary.

    Isnt this just lik saying: An uncouth and mannerless men is the key to protect women since he molests them if women wear revealing clothes. Gag these uncouth men and you will have women running in two piece round the streets.

    Taliban ishtyle :)

  14. Sandesh Says:

    I really hope that media stops giving us minute-by-minute update on this aarushi case (no disrespect to the girl)…. I am sick and tired of all the hype around the murder…not a day passes by without an update (whether warranted or not)….
    innadru saaku madi….. bari idonde vishayana nimage report madokke sigodu?

  15. Aditya Says:

    The media will always be the media. They’re out looking for a good story that sells papers, brings eyeballs etc. etc. The hell with reputations, research, integrity.

    What’s scary is what a bunch of bungling jokers the police/cbi/law enforcement seems to be. They seem to arrest the first person they lay their eyes on, mouth off to the media and look like clowns when more details come out. Pity the person who comes up against this incompetence. Perhaps they were always like this but now their idiocy is more evident.

  16. nimesh Says:

    Secular, jihadi, deceitful English Media with affiliations with Congress and middle east petro dollars picked on Arushi case to distract from kashmir violence against Amarnath land by muslims and jaipur terror blasts.

  17. dharma Says:

    Probably this is a procedure in investigation. People are arrested and interrogated to get clues and later with the results pooled they get the real culprit. The parents were in the house and there were guests till late night and still they are not aware of any thing!!?? STRANGE INDEED!

    When you go to a doctor with an acute illness, he will attack first the visible symptom, and later do all investigations and come to a definet conclusion and diagnosis and cure the disease.

  18. Aditya Says:

    That’s called investigation/questioning. And you do that *before* you arrest and try. Not after trying and convicting them in a media circus.

    Let’s hope and pray the doctors aren’t as stupid as the police. If the doctor mistakes a heart attack for indigestion because the symptoms are similar, you’re totally screwed.

  19. nilesh Says:

    One good thing about this coverage, it brought out the incompetence of the Police and CBI, Only god know how many more accused are still injustly held in prison.

    Accountability is a must for all Right from Judges, to Public prosecutors to Investigating Officer. Every year atleast 5 % of Govt Servants must be dismissed from service.

  20. Yella OK Says:

    Can we just say R.I.P to Aarushi and the issue. And let the family handle it.

  21. Dr. Sree Reddy Says:

    Media is not judiciary to pass judgements. But it often does
    I think they should apologise to the individuals.

  22. Breaking News Says:

    Yes. And Yes.
    The Talwars must concentrate on specific media houses that, it seems, are sub-consciously wishing for another Hi-profile case; considering how much lucre this one brought them. Defamation is such a mild term to describe wht the Talwars have been put through.

    A certain channel irrevocably programmed their 7-8-9 PM Slots on the Aarushi case. Each day, there would be a new story about the Talwars, never backed up, never credible. So what *TODAY*? would you not ask? *Aaj* kya ho gaya Bhai, is case mein?

    Is there nobody that can rap the media’s knuckles and ask them to behave? Talk of a media commission and the learned ones lose no time in screeching “Censorship” and “curbing the freedom of press”. We still don’t know what hit us.

  23. Ritika Says:

    What an instance of irony, disgrace and shame this whole episode has brought about.
    The question is was the Talwar family the only victim of this nuisance ?
    For sure every Indian father and daughter were equally paralysed by these inhuman and false allegations made on Dr Talwar. Not only should the media and police apologize to the Talwar family but to the whole society itself.
    Today the whole nation stands bereaved along with Mr and Mrs Talwar who held on inspite of their irreparable loss. I know there is no one who can fill in the vacum Aarushi’s absence has made and everybody stands helpless today.
    I just wish that every individual empathizes with the family so that this grieving incident is not recurred.

  24. Anonymous Guy Says:

    No sumne, your analogy makes no sense. Shows you have a sick mind though…

  25. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Never mind the excesses by the media! I am not so sure of the Talwars. Any father who doesn’t provide adequate protection to his own teenage daughter in the manner of being sensitive and careful to the choice of domestic servants deserves some punishment. Have you guys and gals wondered how come there was no lady domestic servant staying in the house? That’s pretty bizarre and insensitive on the part of parents not to have ensured that!

  26. Gaby Says:

    AG dont you contradict yourself when you claa for an open and uncouth media in the same breath. Uncouth would mean without restrain and not at all a companion for openness. Perhaps you mean robust and vigilant.

    In the case we are speaking of here the media was frankly vouyearistic and opinionated. Lets not forget that even now it’s only the CBI which is giving impressions of the investigations so far. A judicial trial is still to begin. I do hope we stop discussing this issue on Churumuri at aleast.

  27. Anonymous Guy Says:


    Maybe Mrs. Talwar wouldnt have liked a female ‘servant’ around the house! In any case – you are right about that the Talwars could have been a little more sensitive to the situation. I wouldn’t say he deserved any punishment just for making a poor choice, but he could probably have prevented this whole incident by making better choices. The blame lies on whoever commited the crime and they should be punished as per the law.

    As more people migrate from villages to cities to make a living and resources get scarcer, such social issues are bound to get more prevalent. And our governments are not doing much to address basic problems like population growth, basic infrastructure, education etc.

    It is a reminder for people who has grown up daughters at home and who can afford to keep ‘servants’; from keeping grown up man-servants at home overnight, rounding them up in servant quarters at night, treating them like chattel etc. Even if this means giving up some comfort and making some lifestyle adjustments etc. Better safe than sorry.

  28. tarlesubba Says:

    so what happened here? what is the context?
    i am guessing somebody got murdered, and somebody else got hauled only to be later released.

    idella namalli sarve saamanya alve? ee case- yen vishesha?

    mysoorli yaaro paapa 27 varshad yuvaka rowdigaLa daaLige bali ante. keLudra suddi?

  29. dharma Says:

    On the 4th-5th of June 1956 there was a Murder of a whole family of an Advocate in Bangalore. How many remember this and the events that followed?

  30. Dr. Sree Reddy Says:

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Artilce 11 says
    “Anyone who is charged with any crime is to be treated innocent unless proven guilty. Nobody can be penalised for behaviour which was not a crime at the time it happened.”

    Our media exactly did the opposite!!
    Media suppose to be a watchdog in a democracy, is a violator of human rights.

  31. etvraviraja Says:

    All commentators beware!
    you will be labelled as
    intolerant fascists, who do not tolerate freedom of the press!

  32. sumkirla in english Says:

    nav yaake E kithogiri north indians murder case bagge isthu tale keDskotha iddhivi?

    avLu yavaLo yello satlu, inyavano saysdha.adhakke isthondu discussion beka?

  33. Simply Stupid Says:

    @sumkirla in english,

    Super! ‘E kithogiri north indians murder case’. Innu Bharata annodu jeevanta ide alva.. ade nam dourbhagya.. North Idian, South Indian, Noth-East Indian.. When were we Indians?

  34. WrongFact Says:

    This has become like a Balaji Films Soap Opera. Eveyday people tune into news chanell to view the next episode of Arushi’s murder.

    1000s are murdered every year in India. Wonder why media decides to select one murder and goes hysterical in pursuing it like a maddened dog pursuing a helpless cat? Is Arushi’s life more precious than the other thousands whose stories don’t come on to the media?

  35. Janasamanya Says:

    I think some enemy country must have released some virus in all our important establishments, due to which everygone has gone bonkers.

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