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I Think: Journalists need to hold people in power accountable

Nabhan Mahmood, entrepreneur and lawyer, Hyderabad

Photo courtesy: Ayman Ali Khan

I wouldn’t describe myself as a news person. Most of the news I receive is mostly in the shape of nuggets of information I gather from diverse conversations with friends or from the newspaper.

The rape of ‘Disha’ in Hyderabad was the last incident I read about. I instantly noticed the incomplete reportage of the crime. The omission of certain factual details was telling: why was the police station under whose jurisdiction the crime occurred not named? Why was the name of the MLA/MLC not mentioned?

I view journalists as modern-day educators. They take on the role of teachers for adults, as people pay most attention to them. It is thus their responsibility to hold accountable those who’ve taken the oath to protect the citizens. It is vital to not raise just our voices in protest — let’s raise our hands and words in protection so crimes such as these do not happen.

If I was a journalist reporting on sexual assault, details like what the girl wore, where she was from, who she was with, or where was going would form no part of my coverage. The incident is a crime, and a crime has only two facets to it that should be documented: one, the perpetrator of the crime, and two, the public officials responsible for preventing the crime and handing out justice to individuals who are devoid of a moral compass and hence should be devoid of any compassion or leniency from the rest of us.

The rape epidemic is choking the country. If innocent citizens aren’t free to move and live safely, what independence can our country claim? The problem starts in the intangible recesses of the mind of a perverse being, but tangible actions must be employed by the government to expunge such crimes. I think extensive CCTV coverage, police patrolling, and ‘she-teams’ are some viable and necessary deterrents.



A conversation on the news coverage of rape and sexual violence in India. A MAAR initiative

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