As the city celebrated the new year on December 31, Kannada news channel NewsFirst, among others, captured Bengaluru’s MG Road, Church Street, and Koramangala with a predatory lens, preying on women.
Instead of celebrating the vibrant city alive with music and laughter, cameras became tools of invasion and misogyny, zooming in on women‘s outfits, faces, and bodies outside pubs. Despite visible discomfort and requests to not be filmed, the cameras of the NewsFirst TV channel continued even in the presence of police officials. They followed women as they left pubs, and many women tried to cover their faces with their palms, requesting the camerapersons not to film them. But the channel persisted in trying to capture their identities.
The channel's coverage also included the relentless footage of a woman being helped into an auto rickshaw while she was inebriated and in no state to actively control or question the actions of the camera crew. The thumbnail for the video read, "Look at the woman in auto falling on anyone in sight.”
Another woman reportedly faced molestation, and NewsFirst Kannada’s video showed the woman's male friend physically confronting and assaulting the alleged molester. The channel sensationalised the incident with captions like – "Lover beats up man for molesting 'his' woman" and "Molester gets free beatings by lover."
The videos, published on NewsFirst Kannada’s YouTube channel, had several other moralistic captions like "The woman is pouncing on everyone," "Drunken girl's whims, “drunk woman creates ruckus in Koramangala,” “Woman not even in the condition to walk,” and “Girls swaying in the middle of the road.”
Many Kannada news channels like Public TV, Zee Kannada News, and others also ran similar content with visuals that were less persuasive of the women’s faces in comparison. Nonetheless, the thumbnails and titles of these videos were equally misogynistic. In a video published by Public TV, the thumbnail read, “Drunk woman passed out on the road,” “Woman full tight male-friends full tired,” and “Drunk woman loses consciousness on the road.”
The comment boxes under all these videos were promptly filled with inappropriate takes on the women's attire, “insinuating and inviting lewd behavior”.
DCP South East CK Baba told TNM that if anyone comes forward and files a complaint, the police will probe the matter. Meanwhile, NewsFirst Kannada deleted some of the said videos from YouTube at the time of publishing this article.