Editor in chief, Arnab Goswami, of Times Now channel was breathing fire in Newshour debate. Title of debate was “Where’s Sensitivity Now”. The debate revolved around the topic of telecast of the documentary “India’s Daughter” by BBC.
The channel had invited two speakers to criticize telecast and two speakers to defend the telecast. Broadly, the following points kept on cropping up, repeatedly:
• Was BBC morally and legally correct in telecasting the documentary?
• Would BBC have done a similar documentary on British citizens in prison?
• When BBC did not broadcast a show on royal family of Britain when threatened of legal action, why did it go ahead with the telecast despite a stay order from Indian court?
• When BBC did not show burning alive of Jordanian pilot or beheading of prisoners by ISIS, on the ground that it would affect sensitivity of British viewers, why did it discuss in graphic detail Nirbhaya’s rape and disembowelment?
• Why did BBC give out Nirbhaya’s name and photograph?
• Why did the director of documentary not show full footage to authorities? Why did the director violate the accepted pre-conditions before telecast?
Like a bully Arnab would ask a long winding question to opponents of the motion then, without giving them a chance to respond, go to speakers who would be aligned with his point of view and may be by default those of the channel. As I understood the issues, the following points came to my mind:
• If we, as Indians, have so much objection to the documentary being shown, why a permission was given to film the documentary in the first place?
• The documentary film was done with permission from parents of Nirbhaya. After Nirbhaya, her parents are the most affected people by the incidence.
• I am glad that BBC did not show beheading of prisoners or burning of Jordanian pilot. We should not prey on the misery of people. I did not watch the documentary on “India’s Daughter” myself. Arnab Goswami kept on repeating that the film described in graphic detail what was done to Nirbhaya. Different people who had watched the documentary, described it to be balanced and poignant with a towering presence of Nirbhaya. I have included twitter feeds of two such people below:
@chetan_bhagat: Documentary #IndiasDaughter is extraordinary. Moving, thought provoking. Makers have Nirbhaya's parents consent
@sagarikaghose: India's Daughter is neither vulgar, nor offensive
• It was said again and again that BBC would not air points of view of convicted prisoners in Britain. Should we equate BBC with British government? If British government does not allow her citizens in prison to be filmed, they would not give the requisite permission. Once a permission is granted, it is highly unlikely that British government would run to court to block it's broadcast of the film on a flimsy ground.
We should consider two points in favor of postponing the telecast:
- The case of Mukesh Singh and others is subjudice. Telecasting the show may prejudice their case.
- I also, feel name and photograph of Nirbhaya should not have been revealed in the documentary. In a recent article I read that Nirbhaya's parents do not want to hide her name any longer. So BBC actually had revealed Nirbhaya's name with permission of her parents.
It is still unclear to me why Times Now went all guns blazing against telecast of the documentary? Was it rivalry between media houses where Times group was pitted against BBC and NDTV? We may never know.
I think the documentary, “India’s Daughter” does not make Indians look bad. Ubiquitous incidences of sexual harassment and rape does. In the documentary, if anyone has looked bad it was Mukesh Singh and his lawyers. By their barbaric statements, nation got a glimpse of their state of mind.
Tags: Arnab Goswami, BBC, British Government, Chetan Bhagat, Documentary, India's Daughter, India Today, Indian Government, Mukesh Singh, NDTV, Nirbhaya, Rape, Sagarika Ghosh, Times Now