When journos misreport data, baby’s brutal end, ‘right to be forgotten’

The 25 June edition of Note This — our weekly round-up of media reports and opinions on sexual assault

Asavari Singh
Jun 25 · 4 min read

Journalists across a number of leading Indian and foreign publications (including the New York Times and the Guardian) have misreported that child rapes in India went up by 82% in just one year, an article in FactChecker (republished in the Quint and Scroll) has claimed. According to author Arpit Gupta, the actual increase was just 1% and journalists failed to do due diligence while interpreting the National Crime Records Bureau’s statistics. He also explains “the pitfalls of reading data incorrectly, especially amid the growing concern globally against fake news and unethical reporting”.

Editor’s pick

Journalists often reinforce damaging stereotypes when they use incorrect terminology, and could benefit from better training, says Pune-based queer activist Bindumadhav Khire in an interview with NewsTracker’s Pranati Narayan Visweswaran about the media reportage of sexual violence in the LGBTQ+ community.

Across India: news since last Tuesday

The rape and murder of a nine-month-old girl who was abducted as she slept along with her family has caused a furor in Telangana and beyond. The rapist, the family’s 28-year-old neighbour Kolepaka Praveen, was caught while he was assaulting the baby but her life could not be saved. There have been widespread protests over the death of the child, whose name and photographs have (in contravention of the law) been shared on social media as well as some major news publications.

Incidentally, one of the many people who joined in the chorus for the death penalty in this case has been arrested for participating in the gang-rape of a 16-year-old girl.

#MeToo

In ‘What does “right to be forgotten” mean in the context of the #MeToo campaign’, Devika Agarwal in Firstpost unpacks the implications of an interim order passed by the Delhi High Court to prevent the Quint from publishing two stories about the managing director of a media house. Agarwal takes the stand that in crimes such as sexual harassment “the public’s interest in having information about an accused/perpetrator is much stronger than the individual’s right to privacy”.

Last week, the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Hyderabadd dismissed from duty 56 housekeeping staff members who had accused a more senior employee of sexual harassment. However, following media coverage, the workers were reinstated although their concerns are yet to be adequately addressed, reported the News Minute.

Politics and rape

Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda (a religious sect with a vast following in North India) who has been convicted for the rape of two minors and the murder of a journalist, has asked for parole. According to an India Today report, the Haryana government “supports” the parole application despite the high court “warning” against it. The article points out that Haryana will undergo assembly elections in a few months and the Dera Sacha Sauda’s support for the ruling BJP had earlier proved highly beneficial for the party.

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the state secretary for the ruling Communist Party (Marxist) in Kerala has found himself in the eye of a storm after a woman accused his son, Binoy Kodiyeri, of raping her. Amid calls for his resignation, Balakrishnan has said that he has not attempted to “settle” the matter. According to the Times of India, the CPM has shown “silent support” for Kodiyeri by not addressing the issue in yesterday’s state committee meeting.

Badaun revisted

Five years on, there has been renewed interest in the mysterious Badaun case — in which two teenage girls in an Uttar Pradesh village were found hanged, possibly after being sexually assaulted — thanks to a major film, Article 15, that is set to release later this month. The girls’ family members, however, are reportedly upset that their counsel was not sought in the making of the film.

Read more

This roundup is curated from the RSS feeds of more than 30 English news publications from across India.

See a fuller list of rape and sexual violence cases reported today, and earlier this week.

Use our case filter to read reports on specific cases: #MeToo, #KeralaPriest, #RapeOfMinors, #Muzaffarapur, #PoliticsOfRape (use the dropdown menu in column A).

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NewsTracker

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

Asavari Singh

Written by

Editor and former journalist, with a special interest in gender in the media and psychology. Editorial contributor at newstracker.maar.in

NewsTracker

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