The commission has also urged the government to seek an explanation from the media houses.

Actor abduction Kerala womens body slams Tamil media for publishing survivors name photo
news Crime Monday, July 17, 2017 - 17:26

Many mainstream Tamil newspapers, TV channels, magazines and websites in Tamil Nadu have been regularly publishing the name, photograph and others details of the Malayalam woman actor who was abducted and sexually assaulted in February 2017.

In spite of repeated requests by the actor, the Kerala Women in Cinema Collective and others, these papers have continued to publish such details.

With screenshots of Tamil newspapers doing the rounds in Kerala, the state’s Women’s Commission has now written to the Tamil Nadu Women’s Commission and Public Relations Department to take immediate action against such media houses.

“We have written to the TN Women’s Commission and PR department, asking them to take immediate action against those media houses publishing name and details of the survivor.  Kerala women’s Commission Chairperson MC Josephine has asked for strict action against them,” said a press release.

MC Josephine told TNM that the commission has also urged the government to seek an explanation from the media houses.

Prominent newspaper Dina Thanthi had the survivor’s picture on its front page, following the arrest of actor Dileep in the case.

Kumudam, a Tamil magazine, carried her picture on its cover and splashed more pictures of her inside with details about her filmography.

Other newspapers too have continuously mentioned her name, in spite of being called out many times on social media.

What was most disappointing was the kind of coverage that Tamil media gave to a personal event in the survivor’s life. That event too was connected to her assault and published with pictures and other details.

Read: Dinamalar needs a refresher course in laws against identifying sexual assault survivors

Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code forbids media houses and journalists from publishing or broadcasting the name of a sexual assault survivor. Doing so could attract an imprisonment of upto two years, and also a fine.

While several Malayalam online news portals had revealed the name of the survivor in the aftermath of her abduction, they took her name and photo down hours after the incident, once it was revealed that she was sexually assaulted.

Tamil media, though, has not had any such change of heart. Despite it becoming amply clear that the actor was not only sexually assaulted, but there is a charge of gang rape against the accused, mainstream Tamil papers and magazines have continued to name her and publish her photos.