Friday, August 14, 2020
Home Media Media stoops to sexism in reporting Vasundhara case

Media stoops to sexism in reporting Vasundhara case

For long we have been exposing falsities printed and posted by various outlets of Indian Media. Obviously, all of them are in the form of words or text. This time, we focus on the images used by various media outlets, sometimes, to subtly make a point, which cannot be made explicitly using words, and sometimes for pure titillation and other unnecessary reasons.

First up, see this cover photo used by India Today in one of their latest editions, with the caption “Fatal Attraction”:

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India Today cover

In case one doesn’t notice, besides Vasundhara Raje being the main face in focus, there is a off-colour picture of Lalit Modi to in the background. For background, the phrase “Fatal Attraction”, used by India Today, in all probability, got popular after the release of a Hollywood film of the same name, in 1987. The said film, centered around the story of a married man, who has an affair with a woman.

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Is this relevant to Vasundhara Raje – Lalit Modi controversy, where it is alleged that a politician, namely Raje, has helped Lalit Modi, a friend, and a “fugitive”, in some sort of quid pro quo on account of their friendship? Probably not. But if you consider, that Lalit Modi is a married man, and Vasundhara Raje is a woman who has separated from her husband long back, thus single, then the terms of reference of the phrase “Fatal Attraction” , along with the imagery presented by India Today, seem to be pretty clear.

While India Today could definitely not allege in black and white, that there exists anything more than a friendship between Raje and Lalit Modi, has it tried to suggest this by using an image, and a phrase which subtly hints to that? If yes, then this would probably be a new low for India Today
Vasundhara Raje though, is not new to such cheap innuendos. While running a special story on her, and her involvement in Lalit-Gate, ABP News chose to use the following picture, of Vasundhara Raje and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman and MD of Biocon, although, she has no relevance to the current controversy:

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(This image was used in the video linked in the image, by ABP News, at around 1.30 minutes into the video, with this voice-over: “..Aur Kabhi woh camera ke saamne, Liplock ki wajah se vivaadon mein ghir jaati hain”

The above image was originally clicked by a PTI reporter, and was carried by Economic Times, way back in 2006. Economic Times, eventually had to issue a clarification via an article, saying the picture was only ” It was bad camera angle that gives the impression of a kiss on the lip, in what is just a friendly embrace”. All this, because back then too, TV channels had gone crazy using titles like “Maharani Ka Chumban” and  ‘Shahi Kiss’ for this picture. Economic Times of course, claimed that they themselves “carried the picture in good faith”, while ” TV channels, equally hungry for the ‘breaking story’, pick up such insignificant events and blow it out of proportion”.

Reacting to the re-circulaton of this picture by media, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, had this to say on Twitter:

And if she is to be believed, even “elite” and “classy” channels like NDTV, have used the same image:

But are only Politicians victim of such cheap mentality existing in Indian media? Probably not. And is all mainstream media that perverted? Again probably not. This was proved by a small observation by @ARangarajan1972 on Twitter. On 14 June 2015, he posted 3 images of how Newspapers had covered the Delhi Showers: Times of India, Indian Express and Hindustan Times. It was pretty easy to guess which picture was used by Times of India:

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