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When Media Takes Over Justice: Why The Jasleen Kaur Case Is Journalism’s Failure

By Ahmad Shariq Khan:

It all started with 20-yr old Jasleen Kaur, a Delhi resident, taking the help of social media to ‘name and shame’ her alleged molester.

As the story went viral in a post-Nirbhaya, media triggered, pro-feminism environment (fueled by fierce pitching by AAPians & Bhakts); Twitter trends, Facebook statuses, and many News anchors soon started speaking of Sarvjeet Singh as a ‘pervert’ and ‘molester’.

jasleen kaur

Wouldn’t it have been nicer if our media outlets, in their unending quest for ‘hot trending news’ (which they could repackage as the most important agenda before the nation), should have waited for Sarvjeet to come out of the Police station and tell his version too?

I believe, in the absence of any evidence or eyewitness, our media, including Arnab Goswami and his many clones on different channels, should have given both of them the benefit of the doubt. But in actuality we witnessed that a section of media chose to put on their Chief Justice of India avatar in their studio based kangaroo courts.

I feel like asking the media owners and their teams of researchers – what are they doing there? Isn’t it high time they realize they are into serious business, with manifold repercussions of their broadcasts, which can make or mar lives? And, unlike a free virtual playground or war-zone that social media offers, are they not bound by certain codes of conduct by institutions like News Broadcasters Association and Press Council of India? How could they forget that according to PCI’s norms of journalistic conduct- accuracy and fairness, and pre-publication verification figure as the top most important guidelines? It also further reminds them, “while it is the duty of the press to expose the wrong doings that come to their notice, such reports need to be backed by irrefutable facts and evidences”. Similarly, News Broadcasters Association’s code of ethics specifically urges them to, “make it their mission to seek the truth and to report it fairly”. Now, the readers can judge whether these guidelines were really respected or were just tossed aside?

Further, I ask our fellow citizens: can we really afford to turn so myopic to repeat the blood-baying misadventure, led just by public and media trial? Have we really forgotten the lesson from Nagaland mob lynching, Rohtak Sisters or Mumbai’s Muslim girl’s claim about bias due to religious affiliation?

Most importantly, we should not and cannot afford to be unfair to Jasleen and brush aside all her claims. So, till the law takes its course we must stop bullying the two of them. The fact is, in India, thousands of crimes against women do take place each day, and countless go unreported or never see the light of the day due to the lack of evidence. So just because a counter–argument has surfaced against a lady this time, are we going to encourage our cops to turn away every woman who reports of molestation (minus any evidence)? No, we should never do that. We must listen to their grievances with utmost sincerity. In India which is still a male chauvinistic society, it takes a lot of courage to come out and report crimes against woman. Hats off to Jasleen for holding her ground.

Also, we need to question age-old stereotypes. Imagine, if a cyclist hit a pedestrian or a car knocked a cyclist, won’t the majority advice the cyclist/ car owner to mend his ways. Similarly, if a lady is seen shouting at someone on the road, then we generally tend to get the feeling that the guy must be at fault. However, I really appreciate the fact that good sense seems to be prevailing across the country. I believe individuals such as journalist Deepika Bhardwaj, who rightly questioned the absence of the man’s version of the story and actor Sonakshi Sinha who has apologized to Sarvjeet for judging him, should be called bravehearts for not following the herd mentality. To sum up, I just want to say that vigilantism is good but it must go together with a greater sense of responsibility. For girls in India, I just pray that this incident doesn’t in any way add to the message given in the famous Aesop fable – The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Journalism cannot be public relations nor can it be character assassination, said Rajdeep Sardesai.
We better leave journalism at that, else we all are doomed.

You must be to comment.
  1. B

    Great article. Thousands of innocent Indian men continue to rot in jail courtesy of false cases of molestation, rape, dowry, and domesyic violence at the hands of women who lie to settle personal agendas.

    1. Jasleen Kaur

      I wanted vigilante justice and public delivered justice on Social media… mission accomplished.

    2. Rajiv Raha

      shame on you for being so arrogant & a bloody liarliar

  2. saji

    Very nice article.. good arguments put forwarded. Media always jumps the gun!

  3. Kr

    This is a criminal article.. Journalists are not constitutional figures to act with responsibility…

    The woman that made the claims jasleen clearly made them with criminal intent and to misuse the law.

    Governments should pass legislation to severely punish these criminals who are waste fully using up legal resources and denying the legitimate cases the due resources…if possible such wasters should be punished with public lashes or hanging to death..

    There should be no mercy shown to her in the name of feminism, she was the culprit all along.
    She shouldn’t have been a volunteer on the road, if she didn’t have politeness to manage public.
    This criminal has only used everybody to get popular.. This may be the shit teaching by her useless mom.. A polical science lecturer..
    Nugget brained people who can’t drive students in the right path should not be made lecturers and their children should be snatched away from them by the law.. This for the betterment of society..

    1. srinivas

      stop defaming her , the facts you have seen now are no less to the facts she kept before she claimed sarvjeet as wrong (here both have there versions and who are we to decide??) , if media is wrong , what you public are doing ?? the same know …why you jump and take law in to your hands ?? who are we like those journalists who called sarvjeet a “pervert” , if she told that is her version of the story and she has right as she is taking it to law…who are we to decide ?? If viswajeeth is saying something he has right because he is saying he is in the scene…we are not in the scene…dont act like judges like how most of our national media did ….let the court decide…stop calling her with names and if you do that…you are no less to the people who shared sarvjeet pic even being friend friends with out knowing facts….it is between two people…..and if at all you want to comment please be sensible….logical & respectful ….because if by any chance tomorrow she proves as not guilty with hundred proofs (by chance I am saying and I know chances are less) then what you people do ?? you wont repent right ?? Like media who became silent after calling sarvjeet with all bad names ?? Please be humans man…

    2. Justin

      Jasleen is that you … why did you post as someone else ???

    3. sam

      this is Jasleen 4 sure

  4. Kr

    The people in the media are just using their right to speak, media is no legally recognised authority to speak about anyone..they don’t find a place in the constitution..

  5. b

    Shame on ppl like jasleen who abuse not only common man but also my country’s law. Excellent article.

  6. Rahul Sharma

    Jasleen, you shared this article on your wall. If you are reading this then I just need an answer to very small question

    What made you file 354A section on Sarvjeet? Do you even know what is sexual harassment and section 354A? What happened with you was a verbal argument on traffic signal and you gave it name of sexual harassment??

    I have heard your interview.. I have even read your article on YKA where you described whole incident. I am still not able to understand what part of the argument comes under section 354A??????

    You have wrongly used your gender to put a verbal fight on traffic signal to molestation and sexual harassment

    SHAME ON YOU JASLEEN
    SHAME ON YOU!!!

  7. mike

    Taking someone’s photo and posting it on facebook, labeling him as criminal also without any evidence, is crime and should be punished, irrespective of the fact whether the man is guilty or not. The complainant should have approached the police only.In addition to it she was trying to glorify her act of posting his pic on facebook on media.The man should be assumed innocent until proven guilty by court, which is the foundation of our criminal justice system.She also called the man as ‘pervert’ on national media which is not correct.

    when the channels were running campaign against the man based on one sided story,she actively participated in it but when the other side of the story came and she was asked for explanation she ran away by saying that courts will decide and it was mental torture for her to confront.

    She should be booked under relevant laws of IPC so as to discourage other persons to take law in their hands .

  8. srinivas bhamidipati

    Stop calling her with “names” like you called him with “names”

    Dear friends,

    Like many of you I was taking the girl jasleen side initially but as things started going not in her favor with so many proofs showing her as culprit (I am not saying she is @ wrong even now because who am i to decide) , I too felt sad for the kind ofthinking I was having and felt very sad for the boy Sarvjeet Singh and also felt very sad for incidents like this where judgement becomes tough with out proper evidences .

    With in few days of media taking stands for all good and bad reasons as the evidences started coming in favor of the boy , people got a fantastic chance to use filthywords like “PERVERT” & “BITCH” with in this gap .

    Speaking about HERD MENTALITY in us .

    It’s easy to say a boy as PERVERT and a girl as BITCH because that makes us feel great about ourselves like we are next to all great people in epics and before calling a name please ask yourself by standing before a mirror that how much you know about those people and why you spew venom on every women and men for your personal angers and for your personal problems ??

    Do you know the Boy/Girl personally ?? Ok think like you know him/her but still how much you can guarantee that he/she has done a mistake with out you being in the scene ??

    Do you know how much sarvjeet has suffered when the same ant brains called him with all bad names ??

    and why it wont applies to the girl too ??. In the way how we dont have a right to say him as PERVERT and in the same way how we people have a right to call a unknown girl as BITCH just because everything is against her ??

    Why to use bad words ?? We all gone to schools know ?? We all recently shared teachers day posts know ?? What we learnt from our teachers ?? these filthy words ??
    Got enough media attention because of social media… GOOD…
    DEBATE is always good but it should be logical & respectful because we all have families,kids & elders at home and we have no right to speak filthy to some one who came in to public because of a bad incident .

    Ok because they are not emotionally connected to us know . Ok Great like emoticon .

    If the main witness Mr.Vishwajit Singh says something about the girl or boy or about the incident before media , he has EVERY RIGHT to say because he is in the scene (thanks that he is very respectful in the way he spoke before media and my respects for him for same) .

    If Jasleen called sarvjeet as PERVERT that is her expression of anger because she is ready to face the consequences of her words as she is taking it to law and that is her version of story and leave it if it is right or wrong as court decides and that is at least what she is saying (even though I agree she should not use that word but what if in some other case a girl who is a true victim of molestation and what if that girl has pain and how you people forget that people in pain have every chance to go verbal) .

    If Sarvjeet is defending himself it is his right because he is facing the problem and he has every right to say what he knows as truth because like Jasleen he is in that situation to defend what he believes as TRUTH .
    I truly feel sad that, like media, who jump in to taking sides for their TRP’s , even social media which means we people are no less to show our anger on a unknown women when the case is still under court jurisdiction .

    In what way we people who are calling her bitch are less to those people who are her friend friends in FB and who shared the pic of sarvjeet who even they dont know him ?? (If friends shared it’s ok because they know her, why even friends friends?? idk)

    In what way we are less to that media which is unrepentant about their claims on sarvjeet and who acted like a judge when she has gone to media after her post became viral ??

    Why we need to do the same mistake what main stream media did ??
    Why we need to say that all Girls are same taking one example which is still in court ?? Do you truly believe all girls are bitches ?? Dont we have women at home ??
    Why that videos sharing where a women takes a snap of a guy just for thousand rupee note ?? Why such cheap jokes on women and how many have you truly seen in your circle where women put a case and men suffered except the fact that , that is what we love to believe??

    Why we need to call him PERVERT with the prima facie evidence where few has even gone to that extent where they said to chop his balls just by looking his pic??
    Bad and Good is there in both men and women . Please take any incident on case to case basis and that is what delivers RIGHT JUSTICE .
    BE HUMANS MAN .

    1. Jasleen Kaur

      I wanted Vigilante justice and now it is delivered. Why should I cry if it is not in my favor ?

  9. Stiffneck

    The response to the incident was our failure as a society and smacks us across the face for our lack of social network etiquette and moral conduct. I’d generalize a huge section of people who voiced their opinion in support of either parties of jumping the gun, desperate to pass judgement using whatever facts were in hand. Because being humans, we like to predict stuff and solve puzzles. Everyone grasped for the “I told you so” moment and failed miserably to understand that there was insufficient data to pass a judgement.

    I felt like digging deeper and proposed a hypothesis, the segment in question might be displaying an excessive sense of competitiveness and a need to be “Goody-two-shoes” in the face of society so they take a stand to avoid being portrayed as bandwagoners when the actual data is collected and judgement is passed. I feel that Descriptive and Inferential Statistics should be made important segments of the nation’s educational curriculum. WHY? WHY THIS NERDY MADNESS, YOU ASK?

    The public/media/all parties involved have inferred either party to be a victim and crucified the other, publicly. All these parties have described their habits and predictions with the accuracy of a fictional unicorn blood drinking, crystal ball glaring wizard/witch. BUT WITH NO DATA TO BACK IT UP.

    PEOPLE POINTING YOUR FINGER AT SARVJEET – YOU’RE FUCKING GUILTY.
    PEOPLE POINTING YOUR FINGER AT JASLEEN – YOU’RE FUCKING GUILTY.

    Collect the data, state a hypothesis, state with x percentage of certainty why you think your assumption is right. This might be your chance to get the least error in judgement. BECAUSE, ALL OF YOU HAVE CRIED FOUL ABOUT JUDGEMENTAL INACCURACY. ABOUT RUINING LIVES FOR JUMPING THE GUN.

  10. gaurav

    Nice article. But only nice articles won’t do. Let us make sure we do not jump to conclusion next time media breaks a news of another “brave-heart” taking on her molesters and let us wait for the other side of story come to surface. And please, please never ever share such posts on FB and twitter carrying pics of guys with intent of “naming and shaming” them in name of feminism. Remember you’ll not be empowering women but assassinating character of a person whom you even don’t know.

    1. Ahmad Shariq Khan

      Thanks all for your valuable inputs on the article….much appreciated.

  11. Jasleen Kaur

    I wanted Vigilante justice and public delivered justice.

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