India's Zee News Charged for Interviewing Indian Rape Witness?

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Zee News scored an exclusive interview with the “only witness” to the December gang rape of a woman in a New Delhi bus.  The unnamed woman died in a Singapore hospital last week.

The witness, a male friend of the woman who was with her and beaten during the attack, criticized the public, the hospital and the police in his interview commenting, “Nobody from the public helped us…Even at the hospital, we were made to wait…”  He also said that the police asked him to praise their work.

Their interview, however, has led Zee News, which identifies itself as “India’s first 24-hours Hindi news channel,” to being charged by the police for identifying the witness, The Hindu reported, explaining:

“The case will be filed under Section 228 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, which pertains to disclosure of identity of victims of certain offences, including rape, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.”

But did Zee News even name anyone? The video version of the interview, posted on YouTube, is not in English but does identify the man by showing his face.

The man was not named but was identified as “the victim’s friend,” in Zee News’ print version of its interview.  And other news stories on the interview provide conflicting results.

The rape victim hasn’t been named, and according to Time, “protesters and newspapers have used a series of symbolic names” for the rape victim including “the Braveheart” and “Amanat.”

The Washington Post, the Globe and Mail and Australia’s ABC reported that Zee News “did not name the man, calling him simply ‘India’s hero.'”

And, in a later interview with the AFP, the man “asked not to be named” making it seem less likely he would have OK’ed Zee News naming him.

But, Indian news service IANS reported that Zee News named the man during the interview, and that he had consented to being identified. iMediaEthics has asked IANS for evidence that Zee News named him and will update with any response.

Meanwhile, a phony photo purporting to be the rape victim prompted its own complaint, as CNN-IBN reported. A Kerala man “filed a complaint” with the police after a picture of his daughter wrongly labeled as the rape victim was “circulated on social networking sites including Facebook.”  The Kerala Police asked Facebook to take the picture down, according to The Hindu.

iMediaEthics has asked Zee News

  • to confirm if it did name the man or the victim, in light of IANS’ report
  • if Zee News has received the police’s charges
  • what response Zee News has to the announced charges

An email was also sent to the Delhi police asking why the charges were filed if the rape victim’s name wasn’t used and for a response to the witness/friend’s criticism.  We’ll update with any response.

Hat Tip: Los Angeles Times

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India’s Zee News Charged for Interviewing Indian Rape Witness?

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