The organisations have also made
allegations that, "It has become a regular practice for Newspapers and
TV News Channels to publish/telecast disputes between wives and husbands
and matters which are subjudice or under investigation, in the name of
news". As pointed in the petition, "Every news story of this nature has
certain common elements:
Portraying the wife as weak, helpless
creature having low self-esteem, but flawless in their interactions
with the husband and his family members, and as innocent victims of
the evil practice of dowry.
Portraying the husband and his kin as
criminal-minded, sadistic persons who constantly harass the young
wives for dowry.
Channels competing with each other to
invent new terms to paint the husband and his family members as the
Making assumptions about the guilt of
the husband and his family members merely based on allegations of
the complainant wife.
Passing generalized remarks demeaning
Passing verdicts about the appropriate
punishment for the accused husband and his family members."
"News Channels have been pitching a wife
as a damsel in distress and the husband and his family members as crooks
and pitting them against each other for jerking the last drop of tear
out of the viewers’ eyes and to arouse unjustified anger against the
accused, to keep the viewers glued to their TV sets and boost the TRPs
of the respective Channels", the petition alleged adding that,
"Newspapers and News Channels, through their gut-wrenching commentary,
are building unnecessary pressure on the Police and Judiciary,
prejudicing the viewers and making the society arrest-hungry".
Explaining the impact of such unnecessary
media trial, it is marked in the petition that, "Such irresponsible
reporting of sensational lies and half-truths on disputes between a
married couple, in the name of news, causes immeasurable damage to the
accused, most of whom are decent, law-abiding citizens, and also have
their version of the story which they may or may not want to share with
the media. The media, emboldened by the dysfunctional judiciary brazenly
resorts to damaging the reputation of the accused knowing well that a
person already embroiled in court cases which will take years for
disposal, may not take a chance and file a case of damages or
defamation. Conducting trial by media by publishing/telecasting
one-sided versions or forcing the husband and his family to face the TV
camera under the threat or risk of being discredited, making
unsubstantiated allegations and defamatory statements against the
accused, giving derogatory titles to the accused, conducting media trial
and passing one-sided verdicts, thus discrediting the accused before the
case has been heard or concluded in the Court, all amount to violation
of the human rights of the accused. In addition, making generalized
statements demeaning all men also amounts to blatant violation of the
human rights of fifty percent of the country’s population."
The petition also mentioned that such
practice by media also affects physical and mental health of many
accused individuals, especially elders, are affected because of
maligning their personal and family reputation and many young men, their
sisters and their aged parents have committed suicides unable to
withstand the trauma caused by media trial and defamation in addition to
prolonged uphill legal battles.
The organisations, through their petition, have urged the Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission to render
justice to victims of media malice by,
1) directing all newspapers and news
channels to stop publishing/telecasting of family disputes between wife
and husband as news.
2) directing all newspapers and news
channels to stop making one-sided statements and conducting media trial
on an accused husband and his family members.
3) directing all newspapers and news
channels to render a public apology for giving horrendous titles to an
accused husband and his family members.
4) directing all newspapers and news
channels to stop making derogatory statements on men as a group and to
render a public apology for the damage already done to the reputation of
men as a group.
5) issuing directives such that in case
the accused husband or his family members commit suicide unable to bear
the trauma of media trial and public humiliation, the respective
Newspapers and TV Channels will be required to compensate and pay for
the defamation and damages, without the need for the victims of
media-trial having to fight another tedious losing legal battle against
powerful media houses.
6) issuing directives to stop media
Discussions on ANY matter which is subjudice or under investigation,
especially those related to family disputes, and the Hon’ble Forum may
make provisions to file suo moto cases of contempt of court in
case of violation of this directive.