The News Minute| March 10, 2015| 12.00 pm IST
Filmmaker Leslee Udwin, whose documentary "India's Daughter" raked up a storm in the country, has slammed the Times Now channel for not having reported her side of the story while waging a "hate-campaign" against "a public interest documentary without even having seen it", according to a recent email exchange with a senior editor.
Hector Kenneth, VP of News Operations at Times Now, asks Udwin in an email dated March 7 whether "the makers of the documentary" paid Rs 40,000 to convicted rapist Mukesh Singh or his family members for his interview. Kenneth also asks whether any money was paid through any intermediary to secure the interview.
Udwin in her response, to the email, a copy of which is with The News Minute, strongly denies all such allegations. "THIS IS ABSOLUTE NONSENSE AND STRENUOUSLY DENIED", she writes.
In her email to Kenneth, Udwin also writes that "I DO genuinely appreciate you being the FIRST EVER Times Now journalist who has taken the trouble to ask me for comment. In fact I recommend you take over the leadership of the Channel!".
The filmmaker is clearly alleging that Times Now, which from the very beginning has been vocal about its opposition to the video documentary being broadcast to the public, did not seem to care much about reporting the other side of the story- i.e. the her side. In fact, from Udwin's response it seems that ever since Times Now started its campaign against the airing of the documentary by NDTV, the channel, apart from the email from Kenneth, did not not bother to take or report her comment on the issue.
Udwin in her response also writes, "I am glad you have reached out to me for comment, this is what professional journalists should always do as you know, and sadly that professionalism has been sorely lacking from Times Now to-date.
I have been particularly dismayed to see the hate-campaign waged by the Channel against a public interest documentary without even having seen it. I have struggled long and hard to understand where this regrettable impulse is coming from and I can only assume that it must be born of professional rivalry with NDTV and perhaps jealousy. I would venture to suggest to the Time Group that they should be emulating NDTV and its upstanding and outstanding journalistic excellence and heroic values which care more about improving society and conditions of the world's women, than some petty expression of competitive rivalry."
DNA spoke to Kenneth asking him why he was the "first ever" journalist from Times Now to ask for her comment, he told the paper that he believed "no story should be carried without speaking to all the people involved," but refused to comment on why Times Now did not follow this simple rule of journalism earlier.
Though the filmmaker refuted the allegations of paying Mukesh Singh in the email to Times Now, the channel has not yet reported her defense.
DNA also spoke to Times Now Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, who said, "We stand by our stand that a rapist should not be interviewed because it amounts to voyeurism. Has any media in the UK or US ever interviewed a rapist? Can you find any such interview in the BBC's archives? No one does that because its not done. Otherwise, tomorrow people will start interviewing paedophiles too."Tweet