news Monday, October 20, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | October 10, 2014 | 2.11 pm IST On Thursday Kannada news channel TV 9 Kannada telecast a news programme interviewing a girl who had been rescued from people who had forced her into sex work when she was a minor. The girl had been “sold” by a relative who sent her to Bangalore when she was 16 years old on the pretext of finding her a job as a domestic help. For six years she was sexually exploited. She is now reunited with her parents. Read: Woman "sold" into sex trade as minor re-united with family Although the reporters and the channel was on the whole sensitive to her plight, there were instances of disturbing and inappropriate language being used to describe her ordeal. The overall sensitivity was blunted by some of the tickers which reflect a voyeuristic tendency that the media is unable or unwilling to let go of. Read: Two tales of rape: Why images and questions are not all right These are the tickers the channel ran in describing the girl’s ordeal on the top of the screen. Her story evokes compassion A woman who sold her own elder brother's daughter into the ditch of sin She gave pleasure (sukha in Kannada, sukh in Hindi) to unknown people But she herself went through hell. Another caption used to describe her ordeal translates to mean "she satisfied the desire" of several men. This is by no means the only instance of insensitive language used by a media house when reporting on sexual offences, and neither is TV 9 Kannada the only media house to do so.  Read: You indirectly revealed my identity: Bangalore rape survivor tells media, files case In the wake of the recent reports on sexual crimes against women and children, the state government, police and NGOs had organized a programme to discuss the POCSO Act and its implementation a few weeks ago.  State Public Prosecutor B T Venkatesh who explained the purpose and provisions of the Act said he was talking to the wrong audience. He said that it was the writer of the police station who needed to understand the law as it was this official who wrote the FIR when a complaint was brought. Instead the police personnel present at the seminar were officers, most of them above the rank of sub-inspector. Similarly, he said that journalists too needed to be discerning when reporting on sexual crimes, not just to respect the dignity of victims but also to present society with an accurate picture of what was happening. Barely a handful of journalists were present, even though organizers said that invitations had been sent out to all media houses.

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