Angarag Papon Mahanta, the man with a most golden and soulful voice, is in the news these days for all the wrong reasons. When I first heard about the incident, I didn’t believe it because I know him personally and the type of man he is.
Then came the video that went viral on the social media. Quite frankly, I was taken aback by what had happened. My heart didn’t want to believe it, while my brain was saying something to the contrary. On first coming across the incident, I was of the opinion that if found guilty, then justice must be given to the girl who had been harassed.
I began researching the issue and started watching what the media had to say about the controversy. I have also closely followed the social media’s and the mainstream media’s stand each day for the past few days since the incident took place. In my opinion, social media took a balanced approach to the issue. However, for now, I’ll not talk about that. Instead, I’ll focus on the role of the mainstream media and the stand taken by it.
No matter what the intentions were, Papon shouldn’t have done it. Now, the question arises: what was the role of the mainstream media here – and what about its stand? Did the mainstream media take a balanced and neutral stand, besides acknowledging what had happened?
After following the issue and doing some basic research on the controversy, I have ended up with the following questions.
1. I don’t think any media house really covered the other side of the story – the story which includes the minor girl, her parents and all the other contestants (and their parents) who were present at the spot when the incident took place. Why were the bytes of these people not taken?
Furthermore, why was the consent of the girl’s family not taken before the complaint was registered? Was the complaint made out of ‘will to serve for the right’ or to drag attention from the media for fame? To the best of my knowledge, the complaint was filed against Papon based on the assumptions and opinions of a lawyer, who wasn’t very well known, before the incident. This created a reasonable doubt in my mind.
2. A media channel marked Papon as “Pervert Papon”. What was the reason behind the same? This was done immediately after the video went viral – the quality of which was so unclear that it’s almost impossible to make out if Papon kissed her forehead or her lips.
3. A video was released by the girl, her family and the families of the other contestants saying that they took the incident as a part and parcel of their lives – and that they were not objectifying the incident. Then why are people even justifying the filing of the complaint? Why are they still trying to frame Papon? Why are they making the assumption that the parents and the girl are under immense pressure? More importantly, how can they make that assumption when someone’s reputation is at stake?
You can watch the video here:
4. Coming back to social media, the video was made viral on social media in such a way that the identity of the girl was revealed. Is that not objectionable? The video could have potentially ruined the reputation of the girl and her family.
The video revealing the identity of the girl is still out and no one is filing any complaint against that. Why? Is it because there is no fame and no money in filing a complaint against that?
As an aspiring journalist and a media student, I think it is my job to ask questions and become a watchdog. I hope the answers to all these questions will be answered in the near future.