#Delhigangrape: FIR against Zee News for revealing key witness’ identity


Jan 5, 2013

Delhi Police on Friday lodged a case against Zee News channel at the Vasant Vihar police station for revealing the identity of the gang-rape victim by carrying an interview of her friend who was the lone witness in the case.

The case will be filed under Section 228 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to disclosure of identity of victims of certain offences, including rape, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.

In the interview, the person severely criticised the time taken by the police to respond and the indifference of the public while he and the girl lay on the road after being thrown out of the bus.

“The bus occupants had everything planned. Apart from the driver and helper, others behaved like they were passengers. we even paid Rs.20 as fare. Then they started teasing my friend and same led to a brawl. I beat three of them up but then the rest of them brought an iron rod and hit me. Before I fell unconscious, they took my friend away,” he told Zee News.

“From where we boarded the bus, they moved around for nearly two and a half hours. We were shouting, trying to make people hear us. But they switched the lights of the bus off. We tried to resist them. Even my friend fought with them, she tried to save me. She tried to dial the police control room no.100, but the accused snatched her mobile away,” the male friend said.

He said before throwing them from the bus, “they snatched our mobiles and tore off our clothes in order to destroy any evidence of the crime”.

Recounting the sequence of events on that fateful night, he said, “after throwing us off the bus, they tried to mow us down but I saved my friend by pulling her away in the nick of time. We were without clothes. We tried to stop passers by.
Several auto rickshaws, cars and bikes slowed down but no one stopped for about 25 minutes. Then, someone on patrolling stopped and called the police,” he said.

Contradicting the police claims that they acted swiftly after being informed, he said three Police Control Room vans arrived at the scene only after about 45 minutes and wasted time in deciding under which police station’s jurisdiction the case fell.

The youth claimed that nobody, including the police, gave them clothes or called an ambulance. “They were just watching us,” he said, adding that after repeated requests, some gave him a part of a bed sheet to cover the girl.

Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

The 23-year-old medical student was gangraped and brutally assaulted  when the the two boarded a bus around 9 PM Munirka area after watching a movie in a cinema hall on December 16.

The girl was later taken by a police patrol to a government hospital where she battled for life for several days before being flown to Singapore in an air ambulance for specialised treatment. However, she passed away on December
29.

Police had chargesheeted five men, including the driver of the bus and his brother, in the case and accused them of various crimes like murder, attempt to murder, gangrape, kidnapping and unnatural offences.

The sixth accused is a juvenile as he is a little under 18 although he is to be subjected to a bone density test to verify his age. He will be tried by the Juvenile Justice Board if he is a minor.

Agencies

 

Chhattisgarh government paid TV channels for favourable news coverage, claims paper #paidnews


SUVOJIT BAGCHI. The Hindu, Dec 7, Raipur

Absolutely nothing wrong in funding the channels in a transparent way, says official

Raman Singh’s BJP government “has paid for favourable news stories” and “regular live coverage” to a host of national and local television channels, an English language newspaper reported.

Furthermore, the senior editors of the channels concerned allegedly wrote to the public relations (PR) department of the Chhattisgarh government “negotiating” rates to produce “news stories” and to ensure “positive coverage.”

The news story ‘Chhattisgarh government pays for all TV news that is fit to buy,’ published by theIndian Express on Friday, claimed the paper had in its possession nearly 200 documents exchanged between the PR department and the editors. While not challenging the veracity of the story, the Chhattisgarh government has brought counter allegations against the Indian Express, claiming that the newspaper has “taken more than 50 lakh” in the last two years as advertisements.

The channels named by the newspaper are Z24, a franchisee of Zee News, Sahara Samay, ETV Chhattisgarh, Sadhna News and other “smaller, local networks.”

The newspaper has published details of money allegedly received for government-friendly coverage ranging from welfare programmes, planting of trees in Naya Raipur, distribution of rice at subsidised rates to the poor, the Queen’s Baton relay in Commonwealth Games, the budget presentation, Independence Day speech by the leaders and even the generation of public reaction to welfare schemes — “five persons in each district with 30 seconds for every reaction,” the report says.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj’s visit and anti-Naxal reports are also funded by the PR department, claimed the report.

The report listed what it called the rate for each of the paid news items. In May 2010, Hindi television channel Sahara Samay had presented a five-point proposal to the PR department. It included special television packages on Sahara Samay, 15 times a day, featuring “CM’s speeches, government policies and various departmental news” and the rate was reportedly fixed at Rs. 3.28 crore per year at Rs. 3,000 per minute. It also had proposals like covering the Chief Minister’s programmes using outdoor broadcast vans “live for 10 minutes” at Rs. 48 lakh per year. There were other offers like running side strips on screen, tickers, and side panels for which the PR department had to pay substantially.

The story provided ‘evidence’ of how other channels — Z24, ETV Chhattsigarh and Sadhna News — collected money for broadcasting the government’s welfare schemes.

“In May 2011, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, visited Bastar to inaugurate achana distribution programme. Z24, Sahara Samay, ETV Chhattisgarh, and Sadhna News telecast the programme live and produced ‘special stories’… Cost of the same was Rs. 14.26 lakh,” the report said.

On Friday, the State government’s PR department challenged the allegations but did not deny funding the television channels. Principal Secretary, PR, N. Baijendra Kumar told The Hindu that there was “absolutely nothing wrong in funding the channels in a transparent way.”

“We purchase airtime to showcase success stories, informative and promotional programmes through advertisements, advertorials, features and sponsored programmes in public interest,” said Mr. Kumar.

He refused to accept the clear difference between advertorials and news and repeatedly said that the PR department had not funded any “news.”

“Nobody highlighted the government’s welfare schemes, including The Hindu, but still we give advertisements. What is wrong if we do that for the television?” asked Mr. Kumar. Representatives of other media houses, sitting in the room, explained to the correspondent that the government “funds talk shows, which even feature the opposition party.”

“Mr. Varavara Rao, the Naxal sympathiser, appeared in my talk show,” said Mr. Kumar.

A handwritten note issued by the PR department claimed that in the last two years, an amount exceeding Rs. 54,43,000 had been released to the Indian Express for advertisements. However, theIndian Express letters to the PR department did not establish that the paper was selling news space to the government. Rather, it was evident that the marketing department, and not the editors, were selling the ad-space.

‘Out of frustration’

Later at night, the PR department issued a press note claiming that the Indian Express “has published said article out of frustration” as the government had “rejected” the paper’s proposal seeking more advertisements.

Mr. Kumar said the government had no plans to “review existing media funding policy.”

A reality: activists

Local activists said paid news was a reality in Chhattisgarh and the media refused to carry important stories for fear of government action.

“During the President’s visit, 45 activists from Bastar were detained in Raipur and nothing came out. I presume it is all because of paid news,” said B.K. Manish, a tribal activist from Raipur.

 

Zee News-Navin Jindal episode: Real face of media exposed? #Sting


 

Moneylife Digital Team | 25/10/2012 05:21 PM |   

While paid news is being discussed since the last election, for the first time we saw there is no wall between news reporting and sales, as Zee News’ editors Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary are also business heads of the channel
The episode between Navin Jindal and Zee News is becoming murkier every day. Jindal, the Member of Parliament (MP) belonging to the Congress party and chairman and managing director of Jindal Steel and Power-part of the $15 billion diversified OP Jindal Group-had filed criminal extortion case against Zee News and Zee Business channel.

 

Following a formal complaint by Navin Jindal, the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) suspended its treasurer Sudhir Chaudhary, who is also editor and business head of Zee News. Even the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma has said that it would inquire in to the complaint by Jindal. While both Zee and Jindal are sticking to their own stands, the entire episode raises more questions on the ethics of news reporting and business.

Jindal, in a dramatic press conference on Thursday, also released tapes showing the conversation between his team members and Zee News reporter, who allegedly asked for cash to stop the TV channels sting operation. “Media in our country has to be above suspicion. Media has played a crucial role in our country. Jindal Steel and Power has faced an incident on which I want to give a pure version. The way Zee TV has carried the news, it has become important for me to share,” the Congress MP said.

Earlier, Jindal had filed a first information report (FIR) against Subhash Chandra, chairman of Zee group, Punit Goenka, managing director of Zee, Sameer Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary, both editors and business heads of Zee Business channel. In the FIR, Jindal said that Ahluwalia and Chaudhary demanded “certain advertisement commitments” worth several crores of rupees (Rs100 crore, according to media reports) for not broadcasting a story about the Jindal group’s alleged involvement in the coal block allocations.

 

Jindal in the FIR said, “…the said three officials (Ravi Muthreja, head for corporate communications, Sushil Kumar Maroo, director and Vivek Mittal from Jindal) met with the aforesaid Sameer (Ahluwalia) and Sudhir (Chowdhary) at Polo Lounge of Hotel Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on 17 September 2012. In this meeting Sameer and Sudhir claimed that the deal amount will be Rs100 crore and not Rs20 crore as same was a communication error. They further said that if our company agreed to pay their company a total sum of Rs100 crore, they will not telecast any program concerning us and further they will improve/repair damage already caused to our company and its management due to the said programs.”

 

The complaint also blames Zee group’s head Subhash Chandra. It says, “Aforesaid Sameer and Sudhir further informed us that a vilification campaign against our company is under instruction, consent and full knowledge of aforesaid Subhash Chandra and other officials of their top management. They further informed that Subhash Chandra Goyal was fully aware of this. In fact this whole thing was his plan and each step had his concurrence”.

 

The Zee group, however, denied the allegations made by Jindal. According to a PTI report, Punit Goenka, managing director and chief executive, Zee Entertainment Enterprises has said, “This kind of allegation has happened in the past and may happen in the future. It doesn’t make any difference to us and we will stick to the truth. These are all pressure tactics.”

 

Zee News also alleged that Jindal misbehaved with a team of its reporters after they sought clarifications from him on the allegations levelled against his company for alleged irregularities in allocation of coal bocks.

 

This case highlights the effects of the diminishing wall between news reporting and sales and marketing. Renowned media critic Ken Auletta, while writing about Sameer Jain and Vineet Jain, the Times of India brothers, in The New Yorker has highlighted the question about news and paid news. (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/10/08/121008fa_fact_auletta ). Auletta says, “India is one of the few places on earth where newspapers still thrive; in fact, circulation and advertising are rising. In part, this is because many Indian newspapers, following an approach pioneered by the Jain brothers, have been dismantling the wall between the newsroom and the sales department. At the Times of India, for example, celebrities and advertisers pay the paper to have its reporters write advertorials about their brands in its supplementary sections; the newspaper enters into private-treaty agreements with some advertisers, accepting equity in the advertisers’ firms as partial payment.”

 

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