Protest against Mumbai Mirror – coverage of TISS student rape case

April 20, 2009

TISS Student Rape and Mumbai Mirror Coverage

A student of TISS in Bombay was raped. The media coverage, especially in the Mumbai Mirror, was horrific. Sticking only to the least possible letter of the law and in complete violation of the spirit of the law to protect the identity of the woman who was raped, Mumbai Mirror not only gave every single little detail of information about her which made her immediately identifiable to anyone on or around the TISS campus, or who knows her from outside the campus, they printed, in total, her statement to the police given at the time of registering the FIR (first information report). Yes, FIR is a public document so in theory, no law as such was broken. However, it broadcast across Bombay to all its readers, each personal detail of her ordeal.

A loud angry demonstration was held at the portico of the Times of India Buulding, the publishers of Mumbai Mirror. Below is a video of the event.

(video shot and edited by Tejal Shah)

This protest was not covered in Bombay English language papers. We hear it was covered well in Lok Satta. It was covered in an informative and responsible manner in The Hindu, from Chennai, here

This woman was violated and then again violated by the media. It takes courage to report a rape because its a long and excruciating process to go through the trial. To have the media expose her identity in all but name, strips her of any private space and anonymity in the world to start the healing process. Other women, seeing this public exposure, will not have the courage to come forward if they ever are in the same situation. This act on the part of the Mumbai Mirror (and other papers but Mumbai Mirror was the most egregious) creates an unsafe space for women to seek justice and claim back their agency after such a violent violation to their personhood.

See here for coverage in The Hoot

Let us start our discussion. Please leave comments.