‘Media in Karnataka is complicit in moral policing’

Naveen Soorinje, the Kannada news television reporter who spent four months in jail for capturing on camera the moral policing of a homestay in Mangalore by a Hindu fundamentalist group, has given an interview to Geeta Seshu, who hosts the free speech centre at the media blog, The Hoot:

# Media support for the vigilantism was, barring a few exceptions, absolute. The media played a major role in the growth of communal elements in coastal Karnataka. Very clearly, it took the side of the perpetuators and gave all acts of the vigilante groups a religious colour.

“The moral high ground sought to be occupied and evangelistic notions of saviours of virtue and tradition of these vigilante groups was mirrored by media reports of their attacks.

# Headlines in newspapers routinely referred to ‘dharmadetu’ and said those attacked should be happy they were getting ‘free’ education into religious principles and values!

In another instance, when a raid by the local wings of the Durga Vahini and Bajrang Dal (Hindu fundamentalist organisations for women and men respectively) took place in a pub where some girls were found smoking, the headline and copy stressed that the smokers were ‘rescued’.

# The media’s role is deeply disturbing and attempts to discuss biased media coverage with colleagues have been completely futile, with sharp divides between journalists who aligned with one religious group or the other. Moreover, with the spread of the Hindutva agenda into villages and rural areas, it became even more difficult.

Muslim or Christian groups did try to counter the rise of Hindu fundamentalism and there were some attempts to bring in their own brand of fundamentalism, but these efforts were negligible and largely ineffectual.

# I wouldn’t go so far as to say the media was using communalism to sell. The media support for communal elements was not linked to TRPs or the selling of dramatic attacks of one community over the other. The media’s ideological support for the perpetuators of such attacks was very strong and most disturbing.

During the Church attacks of 2008, a photographer of a leading newspaper, actually snatched a lathi from a policeman present and began beating up the nuns present…

Arrested in November 2012, Soorinje was charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including “rioting with deadly weapons”, “unlawful assembly”, “criminal conspiracy”, “using criminal force on a woman with the intention of outraging her modesty”, “dacoity” and Section 2 (a) of the Karnataka Prevention of Destruction and Loss of Property Act 1981, and Sections 3 and 4 of The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986.

Read the full article: Media complicit in moral policing

Also read: Look, who’s shaming moral police in State

A fitness regime for moral police by remote

Desh ki police kaise ho? Moral police jaise ho!

How girls pissing in their pants protects Hinduism

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4 Responses to “‘Media in Karnataka is complicit in moral policing’”

  1. Vinay Says:

    Now, whenever I think that the BJP and co. – right wingers – are better for the nation that the Congress, I come across such articles.

    If Bajrang Dal and co. can be reined in and put in their place, I will have no problem with the BJP at all. One thing I will not tolerate, is attempts to impose “morals” and interfere in people’s personal lives in the name of “rich heritage and morals”.

    This is the only aspect of the Indian right-wing that makes me wary of it. They need to show their support for liberalism and individualism. They need to come out in the open in favour of liberal attitudes, and emasculate and sideline thug groups like Bajrang Dal.

  2. Saif Says:

    Did I read somewhere that there is an “Additional” Commissioner of Police in Mangalore, Shri Shri Kallada Prabhakar who ensures all saffon thugs get bail or no cases are filed against them in the first place? Did I read that the current Government with a difference has in the past 5 years withdrawn hundreds of cases against criminals caught disturbing public peace in the name of religion? Did I read that the previous Kumaraswamy-Yeddy Government withdrew all cases against those caught (both khakhi knickers and their counterparts the jihadis) indulging in communal violence in Mangalore’s Ullal? Did I read that the Bangalore south MP had openly announced that he would convert Baba Budain Giri – Dattatraya Peeta into Ayodhya of south…(but in turn has succeeded in making Mangalore the Swat Province of Karnataka)? I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping I am not booked under Anti-terror laws for daring to stand up against the morally bankrupt and corrupt to the boot Sangh Parivar.

  3. Dr Kiran Acharya Says:

    Nothing new in what Navin has to say. Sadly he sold the video clips to all the media houses, now talks like a saint. As Arundhati Roy quoted long ago “media is an accessory to crime in India”…check my blogpost in 2011, http://drkiranacharya.blogspot.in/2010/10/indian-media-accessory-for-crime.html

  4. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    One of the fundamental rights that we Indians should have put in our constitution is the right to not be offended by someone else. No problem though, we still act like it’s there.

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