Hyderabad rape, murder: Insensitive media, cops violate SC guidelines by revealing name

Nagpur: As the nation witnessed outrage over macabre rape and murder of the veterinary doctor in Hyderabad, the insensitive and overzealous media houses as well as social media in the country wreaked havoc by revealing the name of the victim with image. By publicising the identity and other details of the woman who was raped and killed by four men in Hyderabad, the media houses and individuals broke the law brazenly. Police are also square responsible for this unsavoury incident.

Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code clearly says rape victims or survivors of other sexual offences prescribed by law cannot be identified without explicit permission. A violation could carry a fine and imprisonment of upto two years. Not only must the name of the victim be concealed, any detail that could make the identity of the rape victim public is illegal.

It is pertinent to recall the horrendous rape and murder of a woman in a Delhi bus occurred in 2012. The victim is now called Nirbhaya but nobody knows the real identity of the victim. No image either. However, this time the insensitive media houses compounded the Hyderabad incident by revealing the identity of the rape and murder victim with photograph. Not a day passes without the media flashing the name and image of the victim. One could see the race among for TV channels for TRP. Interviews of saddened relatives of the victim are being flashed insensitively.

Demos in city with photograph:
After the terrible incident, angry demonstrations are being stage in almost all cities in the country. The incident has also echoed in Parliament. Nagpur also witnessed such outrage over the rape and murder. Several social organisations and individuals held protests with placards revealing identity and photograph of the victim. It is total violation of Supreme Court directives. Police also failed in their duty by not “advising” the organisations not to reveal the name of the victim publicly.

Supreme Court guidelines:
According to SC guidelines, no media house or person is permitted to print or publish the name of the victim or even in a remote manner disclose any facts which can lead to the victim being identified and make her identity known to the public at large. Even at the authorisation of her/his kin, identity cannot be revealed until there are circumstances justifying the disclosure. The guidelines also instruct the police to not put out the FIR of the case in the public name and create a separate set of identical documents where the identity of the victim is not revealed. The original report should only be sent in a sealed cover to the investigating agency or the court.

In the Hyderabad incident, the police had not confirmed till a few hours after the body was discovered, that it was a case of gangrape. Though the media houses can claim that they carried the name and picture before this disclosure, the fact remains that many continued to use her identity even after the gangrape was established. Also, the cops in the case had put out the FIR of the case in the public domain, revealing the minute details and identity of the victim, for media and public scrutiny.

Nagpur Today’s appeal:
Nagpur Today understands the justifiable outrage over the rape and murder of the veterinary doctor in Hyderabad. “But the revelation of name of the victim with photograph makes the matter worse for the relatives. We appeal not to do such insensitive things and also deter others. Please be sensitive and responsible.”