Monday, December 23, 2013

Khurshid Anwar- Guilty or victim of media trial...

I read news about suicide of Mr. Khurshid Anwar, a social worker and director of NGO called Institute for Social Democracy on my Facebook wall, I didn't know about him before reading news about his death. The reason why this news caught my attention was cause of his suicide, which was the depression caused because of sexual assault charges leveled against him by some 23 year old girl who worked for some other NGO. Another reason was, there were many women who knew Mr. Anwar personally and were really surprised and shocked by this allegation and believe that there might be something fishy going on in this case, they think these charges might be false and someone was trying to implicate him in a crime he did not commit, so this is not a suicide but sort of murder. May be after detailed investigation real truth will come out, but a life is lost, which is terrible and sad thing. The role played by some news channels who accused Mr. Anwar for rape is also questioned, can media pass on the verdict of guilty or non guilty without any trial? Such media trial can put lot of stress on concerned people and results can be devastating as in this case. They definitely have right to report the news but do they have right to take sides so openly without any substantial evidence?

There is no doubt that any victim of sexual assault should get all the possible support and help, guilty should not be spared in such cases no matter who they are but at the same time we should also need to make sure that such laws are not misused for personal or professional gains. Now a days many cases of misuse of anti-dowry law, anti-casteism law (so called Harijan act) are reported, some also level false sexual harassment or rape charges, because of nature of these crimes victim immediately gets all the sympathy and and accused is immediately painted as evil or demon. No doubt that victim should get all the required support but at the same time accused should also get the chance to defend and prove his/her innocence, it should be fair trial for both of them, rights of both accused and victim should be respected and honored. Media, social networks and other electronic mediums also should deal with these type of cases sensibly and responsibly. Media plays very important role in any civilized and progressive society, they are responsible for communicating correct and non biased information to people but now a days we hardly see them doing this, most of them are becoming like any other entertainment channels who cater whatever their audience likes to watch, this is really sad.

Social and news media also played very important role in some cases like Jessica Lal murder case to get justice for the victim but very tough competition to grab the sensational news and report it before others has created situation where there is hardly any time to authenticate the information, many times they broadcast the things before even checking the source or truth behind it and this sometimes creates lot of damage to concerned parties. Recent sting operation tapes against AAP which was broadcasted on many news channels is another example. I am against censoring of media by any government organization, they should be independent and unbiased as much as possible, then only they can do their job honestly, but at the same time they need to be responsible, with complete freedom also comes lot of responsibility. They need to be really careful when large section of society depends on them as a source of authentic information, I hope this sense of responsibility prevails in current media houses who are controlled by some of big corporates, I hope this doesn't become just another business but remains an independent and sincere pillar of democracy, if not then we might see more victims like Khurshid Anwar who were declared guilty before any fair trial.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Links:
1. What Khurshid Anwar's suicide should tell the media
2. NGO director jumps to death as rape charges are levelled against him by 23-year-old woman

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