On Monday, 11 men gheraoed and stripped a teenage girl, who had stepped out of a bar in Guwahati, Assam, while television crews filmed the entire incident. Television channels took it one step further by airing the footage.
While the police have failed to make any breakthrough and arrest any of the seven culprits, a group of students have slammed this move as “unethical journalism”. Meanwhile, Team Anna member and Assam farmers leader, Akhil Gogoi, produced six video clippings allegedly indicting local journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog for his involvement in the incident.
In an open letter to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, the students said that while the video did help identify seven of the 20 criminals, the footage should have never gone viral.
“Tomorrow, if we get raped, will we be filmed and flashed on TV? We would like to know what steps have been taken to ban unethical journalism?” they asked. The signatories to the letter included students Priyanjana Das, Kasturi Ratan Verma, Shruti Sarma Hazarika and Kaustuv Prakash Pathak.
“Did the media who filmed the video call the police? Did the spectators around just stand and merely enjoy the show? And if they called for police, where was the police? We would like to know whether the government has addressed the carelessness of the media.”
Meanwhile, prominent anti-dam activist alleged the involvement of the journalist, Gaurav Jyoti Neog, who works for a Guwahati-based news channel, and charged police with trying to divert the issue and to cover up his name on Friday. After Gogoi’s allegation, the Electronic Media Forum of Assam (EMFA) dared the activist to prove his allegations against the journalist. “The journalist took an active role in the incident which brought shame to the public life of Assam in general and journalism in particular,” said Gogoi.