news Monday, November 10, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | November 5, 2014 | 2.28 pm IST On a day of much drama in Bangalore over two instances of violence against children – Indiranagar and Tirthahalli – in the state, Home Minister K G George invited the wrath of the media by saying that news channels played up the cases for TRPs. Speaking to the media on Wednesday, George said that one of the factors for the rise in the reporting of sexual offences was the expansion of the scope of Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, which defines rape. According to a PTI report, George said: “What has happened to the media is you want only such news, you are showing only such news to increase your TRP. Show good news, it will be good.” “I have told in detail several times that after Nirbhaya case Sec 376 (relating to rape) has got a wider definition, and the incidents happening within the school premises should be stopped by school managements. When complaints have come we have acted. “Projecting Bengaluru as rape city and putting people of Karnataka in a bad light, we have objections to it.” A day after George’s remarks, Congress president G Parameshwara made similar remarks, asking the media to introspect. While condemning the occurrence of crimes against women and children, he said that “they should not happen”, Parameshwara added: “How right is it to play the same news the whole day? The channels should also think about it. No?” Senior journalists and Editors of newspapers in the state have mixed opinions about the development.  Editor of Vijaya Karnataka Sugata Srinivasaraju told The News Minute that it was not something new for a politician to ask such a question. While refusing to comment on George’s remarks to the media, Srinivasaraju when such questions were raised about the conduct of the media, media houses needed to introspect.  “When there are slanging matches like this, you need to think and reflect on what it is doing right or wrong. One is not completely convicned by the practices of the electronic media especially the regional media,” Srinivasaraju said.  On any given day, “the print media is far more sensitive than the electronic media, especially the regional media”. He added: “I don’t think the nature of television media allows for (such restraint)” “Screeching and shouting” in the reportage on sexual offences was “completely unbecoming of the media” and it would elicit different kinds of responses from different quarters. “This (George’s remarks) could be one such response,” Srinivasaraju said.  Associate Editor of The Hindu in Bangalore T M Veeraraghav said that he was “not seconding” the Home Minister’s comments, but said that the media needed to be clear about its intentions for doing a story. The objective should be to “raise awareness and do a story with the aim of trying to find a solution” and not “create fear”, he says. However, he was also critical of the government’s view: “The Home Minister cannot tell the media what it can and cannot do. The media is making people aware of things. It is the government’s duty to protect the life and liberty of its citizens. It should respond specifically (to offences) with action,” Veeraraghav says. Editor of Kannada Prabha Vishveshwar Bhat said that “saying that media is doing stories for TRPs is like saying that newspapers exist only to make money”. “We are in the business of news, but the intention behind stories is to cater to our readers. The sole criteria is not TRPs, none of the channels do that. TRPs are a different ball game,” he said, adding that he “condemned” the Home Minister’s remarks.

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