Journalism Or Soft Porn?: Shocking And Outrageous Headlines On Dainik Bhaskar’s Website

Posted on August 6, 2013 in Specials

By Agam Dhingra:

The recent incident of a JNU student attacking a girl and committing suicide brings to light the stark reality of unstable relationships fraught in suspicion and doubt over the partner’s faithfulness and the patriarchal sense of ownership over women. The horrific incident has left the victim, who was attacked by an axe, battling for her life.

Dainik Bhaskar

The incident received ample media coverage and prime time slots on a number of news channels. However, the most shocking and outrageous news article was published on the website of Dainik Bhaskar. The news article highlights shoddy journalism sprinkled with indecent comments about a woman’s character and morality. The article titled,”बदले के लिए करना चाहता था मर्डर: सेक्‍स तक कर चुकी थी गर्लफ्रेंड, पर बाद में उड़ाने लगी मजाक*”, which loosely translates into ‘The assailant wanted to murder the victim to seek revenge since the girl had making fun of the boy even after being physically involved with her partner’. Such news reports not only completely distort the reportage of incidents but also misguide the readers. Besides, at a time when the victim must be supported morally and emotionally, such misinformed reports make it difficult for the victim as well the victim’s family to lead a life of normalcy.

What is more appalling is the audacity with which Dainik Bhaskar has been publishing news which promote male chauvinism and project women in poor light, since a long time now. Articles on the website have equated women to the status of seductress and has also not flinched in calling them witches and making other such derogatory comments. Journalism calls for objective reporting of incidents that do not threaten the self-respect of anyone. Thus, resorting to distasteful headlines to grab eyeballs and increase readership is highly intolerable and uncalled for. Employing derogatory statements to sensationalise news depicts the narrow mindedness of the reporters and naïve outlook of the publication house. An online petition demanding stern action against the reporter and editor of Dainik Bhaskar has been started here. The petition raises a very valid argument as to how the editor has concluded about the cause of the incident since the suicide note of the attacker has been held in secret custody and not made public.

We must remember that India being predominantly a patriarchal society, there arises a need to carefully handle such incidents, which may have further consequences in future. Moreover, the focus must be to minimise such incidents and making it easier for the survivors to move on in life besides bringing about a positive change in the attitude of people.

*The article has now been taken off the dainikbhaskar.com website.
**The following articles too have been published in Dainik Bhaskar —

“इस गांव में पुरुषों के साथ संबंध बनाती है डायन, पसरा रहता है मौत का सन्नाटा !”

“गर्भवती पत्‍नी ने पति के लिए फंसाई वर्जिन लड़की, रेप के बाद मर्डर में भी बनी मददगार”

“नरेंद्र मोदी के समर्थकों ने अमर्त्य सेन की टॉपलेस होने वाली बेटी पर बोला हमला”

“3 कुत्तों और गधों के साथ रहती है ये महिला, हर रात बदलती है बिस्तर!”

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