What journalists want

Journalists share what they hope to achieve by reporting on rape

Reviewing the journalism of rape over the last two months got us asking a fundamental question. What do journalists hope to achieve with their reportage of sexual violence? What do they see as their objective? How do they think about that part of their job? We asked a selection of journalists working for regional and English publications for their views.

“Our job is to report, to inform society about what’s happening around us. Rape is a crime, and our objective is mainly to report it — not to educate or something.”
 — Ankur Sharma, New Indian Express

“The main objectives for reporting rape should be to create awareness and bring this issue to the forefront of public consciousness.”
— Vinoth R, The Hindu (Tamil)

“We can’t ignore rape — it’s a crime which exists, and is on the rise. As a media organisation, we have to report it because it’s a societal crime. People need to know about the crime, why it is happening. You cannot stop rape just like that. There needs to be some sort of awareness among the people, in the government, among the social workers that are working with the victim.”
Somreet Bhattacharya, The Times of India

“Sexual offences need to be highlighted in some way — they are a major issue, and we also need to change their (the people’s) attitudes. We need to highlight such crimes again and again to show they are not normal. By talking about online stalking, for instance, we highlight an issue that needs to be raised.”
 — Siddharth Bhardwaj, The Times of India

“The larger aim is to make people aware of what’s happening in the country. For me, personally, however, I’ve noticed that, more often than not, the perpetrators are known to the victims. Thus, I also hope that reading about these cases will make people more cautious about the people around them.”
— Journalist, Press Trust of India

“The objective of reporting a rape story is to tell the reader about a gruesome crime that has just occurred against a helpless woman.”
 — Daniel George, Special Correspondent, The Times of India

“Most major media houses, irrespective of medium, report rape cases either as routine statistics or on the local, city sections of their products where a local audience is being targeted. In my view the objectives are twofold — to create awareness of crimes and patterns of patriarchy, and to ensure the law and order system is held accountable for lapses and judicial expeditiousness.”
 — Maya Mirchandani, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation

“The idea is, everyone should be able to feel safe wherever they are. Our aim as journalists is to make sure that these voices go out to people, reach out in one form or the other.”
 — Sakshi Chand, DNA Newspaper

“Journalists play a critical role in illuminating the truth for people. I am not sure how many of them are shining examples.”
— Saslin Salim, formerly of Yahoo India, partner India Media Associates.

Spurthi V, Anna Thomas, Meghna Anand, and Tasmin Kurien contributed to this story.