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Monday, May 28, 2007

Wassup with our newspapers?

'The News' features this story on its front page: Two Japanese girls raped in Lahore By Salman Aslam

LAHORE: Two Japanese girls were raped by five persons in the provincial metropolis five days back, The News learnt on Friday. The victims, who were identified as Shizuka and Yazana ...
Who the eff identifies and publishes the names of victims in rape cases? And why? To what end? Granted that The News didn't score as badly as The Dawn of a couple of days earlier (see below), it's not good enough. Learn to be sensitive and ethical, guys. You are not competing with sensationalist tabloidism (or even your own group's Urdu paper).
This is what I had written to the Editor of Dawn two days ago. Have been travelling, so I don't know if it made it to the Letters page or not.
Dear Editor I am amazed that a newspaper of your standing and reputation should publish pictures of rape victims. Even in the absence of a law [preventing such information being published], I expect better sense from a publication such as yours. Here are two excerpts from international sources that may help explain my view. The first from the Organization of News Ombudsmen "You will rarely see the name of a rape victim -- or the victim of almost any sex crime -- in the pages of any newspaper. Most follow the same guidelines we do here, which is not to name people who have been, or allege to have been, victims of sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults. We allow three exceptions: the person agrees to be named; the assault and the victim's identity are so well known that it's pointless to withhold it; or there is a valid news reason to do so. No law prohibits the publication of these names. The Plain Dealer and most newspapers elect to withhold them because of the stigma often unfairly attached to victims of sex crimes, and because we do not want the fear of disclosure to discourage victims from prosecuting their attackers." And the second from a source relatively closer to home, a Thai newspaper ('The Nation'), after two other local newspapers published victims' photos: "Photographers don't have the right to point their cameras at victims and relatives in this kind of case. I'm not going to say if it's right or wrong to publish those pictures, even with the faces blacked out," said Tulsathit Taptim, chairman of the TJA's Rights and Freedom Committee. Boonrat Apichat-trisorn, of the TJA, said the association had launched a campaign in 2004 to promote media ethics and sensitivity when reporting on cases of sexual assault but this case showed some journalists were still failing to grasp their responsibilities. 'As I senior female reporter who has worked in the media for a long time, I demand the press show more understanding of the issue,' she said." Granted that in this case the victims' families held a press conference and wished to publicize the case, the same effect could have been achieved by powerful and sensitive reporting - sans photos. I sincerely hope that Dawn will be more considerate in the future.

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Anonymous the olive ream said...

hear, hear!

29 May, 2007 00:50

Blogger Zakintosh said...

how telling is the fact that no other comments supported my view ... let alone furthered the discussion.

06 June, 2007 05:54

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

I suppose you've already read/heard about a television channel refusing to heed requests from the UK's Princes William and Harry to not air visuals of their mother's last moments.

Meanwhile, here in India, I've seen the news media following the guidelines from the Organisation of News Ombudsmen, as mentioned in this blog-post, without exception, as far back as I can remember.

09 June, 2007 18:21

Anonymous uXuf said...

It's a relatively new practice by the newspaper, warna they all had the sense to stick to what the News Ombudsmen people proclaim. The recent decline could indeed be attributed to tabloidism.

That said, when nobody gives two hoots about the Chinese women abducted in Islamabad, who would care about the Japanese?

30 June, 2007 20:18

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well its all rubbish...i think ppl do hav mind n ability 2 think.....if u dn't knw any one then how can u go in his home n then say u r raped???....n what the soo inocent gals was doing in booze party?...its all fake...such craps shd throun out of pakistan....

23 August, 2007 02:24

Blogger loversboy said...

Pakistani newspapers and urdu news.Good collection of all kind of urdu newspapers at one place.All khabrain at one place that you have to just click on the link and the Pakistani newspapers will be on the show front of you.

01 July, 2010 22:45


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