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Teen artiste molestation: No holds barred reportage calls for revisit to POCSO Act

By Harsha Raj Gatty
For Daijiworld.com

Dec 13: On Sunday, a section of daily news media reported on the in-flight molestation of the famed Bollywood child artiste, which was apparently posted by the victim on her social media handle. However, unlike a few of her senior counterparts like Sonam Kapoor or Kalki Koechlin - who candidly came forward with their own ordeal of sexual harassment, this victim was only 17-years of age.

Media reports by prominent news agencies and outlets ran the story with headlines naming the child actress.

'***** ***** allegedly molested on Del-Mum flight', '****** actress ***** ***** alleges molestation on-board Vistara flight, 'Bollywood Rallies Behind ***** ***** After Molestation Horror on Flight, '****** actress alleges mid-air molestation'.

While the respective media houses were within their rights in building public consensus against the crime and reporting its aftermath, it was quite disturbing to see that the mainstream outlets were naming the minor victim, along with her photos, and thereby identifying her.

This even, as Section 23 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012 clearly lays down that '...No person shall make any report or present comments on any child in any form of media without complete and authentic information... Not to disclose the identity of the child or any other particulars which may lead to the identification of the child...

Further Section 23 (3) clearly adds that the publisher or owner of the media is also jointly liable for acting in the contravention of the provisions, with imprisonment not less than six months to one year, with fine or with both.

While later during the day, some media outlets like NDTV retracted the name of the victim from their site and updated their webpage with a disclosure read as; 'This story has been updated to remove the actor's name since she is a minor'.

Other outlets continue to carry the story with the name of the actress and have maintained the 'silent' status quo.

A few like ABP while presumably retracting the name, seemed to have justified their earlier position with the following Disclaimer - 'According to the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) act the identity of the victim must not be disclosed. However, the victim has herself shared the video on the social media platforms, her identity is already public.', the statement read.

However terming such explanation as absurd, Karnataka based Advocate and Child Rights Activist Dinesh Hegde Ulepady said that the POCSO law is applicable for the Media outlets and not the minor. "She is a minor, she may be unaware to the laws of the land and posted the content in public domain. But media houses cannot operate by claiming ignorance to the laws that are meant for their regulation. On being aware of such incident the media outlets must have either directed the victim to the respective authority to file a plaint or could have published the incident without revealing the victims identity," Ulepady says.

He further adds that the identification of the victim may also construed as though the respective outlet was profiteering by naming, shaming or sensationalising the victim's ordeal. "Although their intention maybe good, even the parents or the honourable courts, while may allow the publication of certain cases for increasing public awareness, they can never allow the victims to be identified," he adds.

Disclaimer: The author is a contributor from www.storyinfinity.com. All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Daijiworld Media Pvt Ltd or any of its advertisers and affliliates. Daijiworld Media Pvt Ltd does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daijiworld Media Pvt Ltd.

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Comment on this article

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Bengaluru/Katapadi

    Thu, Dec 14 2017

    Instead of making the incident bad and sensitive,we need to find a solution to tackle the issue

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Indian, India

    Thu, Dec 14 2017

    It may be a new type of "accusation jih*d"....be careful guys...

    DisAgree [5] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vivek, Hirebyle / Abu dhabi

    Wed, Dec 13 2017

    HELLOOO!.....its not the Media who raised this Issue....She herself complained in Social media.....Give him a Suitable Punishment and let things OFF.......

    DisAgree [9] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Goodwll, Mangalore

    Thu, Dec 14 2017

    Learn the difference between SEXUAL MOLESTATION/ASSAULT and annoying a co passenger.
    Here the suspect is innocent especially when you look at the fact that he was booked for sexual misconduct and has been charged under the POCSO Act which proves that the Mumbai Police is incompetent.
    This was merely an incident where a fellow co passenger got annoyed and made a huge issue out of a small thing just because his/her celebrity status got the better of him/her.
    This very person has already lost credibility for a particular comment on an issue.
    This was nothing but a battle of ego where a common man has lost a lot. Hope he files a case of defamation against the "Alleged child artiste" for using her celebrity status

    DisAgree [2] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sunita Lobo, abu dhabi

    Thu, Dec 14 2017

    Grow up Goodwill, from when is putting your leg up on the other passengers seat and rubbing it against the person OK? Do you also do that? Or would you like that happening to your family member? Was it me on that flight, I would have broken his leg and given it in his hand, so he dare not do it to another women, let alone a teen. He did it only because she was young and could not retaliate. Don't support these guys, tomorrow we might find it very difficult to handle a situation when people come into our houses and give us the same treatment. Already the country is in a mess because we have ignored such instances and given a free chance to everyone to do what they want. Rape and molestation is a norm and everyone thinks they can get away with it. If you want to see a safer place for your family take action now.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Goodwll, Mangalore

    Thu, Dec 14 2017

    Sunita Lobo, there is a slight misunderstanding in the way you have comprehended my comment. I do not support the guy for putting his leg on the arm rest. Thats a dirty thing to do but I do not support the mumbai police booking him under the POCSO Act for it. Its not sexual assault/molestation/rape under any circumstance.
    She made a huge issue out of this and dragged this into Instagram with her tears of anger and frustration. Its her ego which got hurt.
    This problem could have been merely solved by asking Sachdeva to remove his leg from the arm rest or pointing it out to the crew.
    So tomorrow if your husband/male child/dad bymistakingly touched a lady/girl on a busy bus and she shouts "Rape" would you support the woman? Is this the level of hatred you want women to have on men? What this disgusting person is trying to do is widen gender discrimination.
    Its her fault when it comes to escalating a not so serious issue into a national news.
    There are women in railway stations who put their legs on the seat. Is it right of me to book rape charges on them under POCSO Act provided I am a minor?
    Infact its the woman gender who is creating hatred between genders. If a man has an extra marital affairs he becomes a suspect but if a woman does that she is a victim(This patheticSexist Indian Law which I was not aware of came into light recently. Seems they want a revision atlast). A woman can easily charge domestic rape these days. Its the boy's family who is scared of the girl.
    Hope you are aware of these before saying that India is filed with hate and that its just to support her because India is full of hate. I will never support her or any gender just because he/she is a disadvantaged group. Look what that led to.... reservation system.
    I have learnt to call a spade A Spade the hard way and just because she is 17 does not mean she has the license to book a person under the POCSO Act for putting his legs on the arm rest. If that is justice then India has lost.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, Dec 13 2017

    Why are we complicating this Issue ...

    DisAgree [3] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

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