A news report was circulating online, which was in all probability broken first by Times of India, saying: “Chandigarh set to ban short skirts in discotheques“. The story was consequently picked up by almost every media outlet and given its own fresh twist:
Zee News: Chandigarh all set to ban ‘scantily dressed’ women from discotheques
News X: #SanskariBullying: No short skirts in Chandigarh discos: ‘Ban skirts or face shut down’ says, administration.
Catch News: Chandigarh discos ban entry for ‘seditious’, ‘scantily clad women’.
HuffpostIndia: Chandigarh to ban short skirts in discos because it’s breeding ‘anti-national’ elements
All the reports are based on what has been nicknamed Chandigarh’s “Disco Policy”, officially called: “Controlling Places of Public Amusement 2016“, to “maintain law and order situation”. So does the policy really “ban short skirts in discos because they breed anti-national” sentiments? Lets have a look at the part which talks about this aspect:
The policy says, permission may be cancelled if “it”, that is the public place, is considered to violate any of the laid down norms. A few of the norms are:
- To be indecent or of a scurrilous character;
- To be seditious or to be likely to excite political discontent;
- Any exhibition or advertisement whether by way of posters or in the newspapers, photographs of scantily dressed women;
Point number 3 above talks only of “exhibition or advertisement whether by way of posters or in the newspapers“, of scantily clad women, and not of scantily clad women themselves. Can Indian media not understand the difference between ads of scantily clad women and scantily clad women?
Further, from where did media infer that “scantily clad women” = “women wearing short skirts”? Are skirts the only medium of being “scantily clad”? What is the genesis of this word “skirts”? In fact, this conclusion betrays their own small mindset.
Point number 2 above talks about carrying out seditious activities. There has been a lot of debate on this and even without this “Disco Policy”, there are enough sections in the Indian Penal Code to take care of seditious activities, so what this law proposes may not be something brand new.
Point number 1, talks about “indecent” character.
These are three different, independent violations which have been listed out. But as usual Indian media has made a hash of the matter, either out of sheer incompetence, or deliberately. They have deliberately combined all the three points, added some imaginative bits about “short-skirts” specifically, and manufactured outrage-worthy headlines. This is nothing but lying.
Indian media could have raised many important issues about this “Disco Policy”, like:
- What is the need of a “Disco Policy”
- Is this a matter of priority?
- Why ambiguous terms such as “indecency” and “scantily clad women” have been used in the policy? These are extremely subjective terms and can vary according to the moral bent of each person.
But our media, out of sheer incompetency or malafide intent, has managed to completely misreport a story. There is almost no chance any of these outlets will publish even a shred of an apology or clarification, and none of them will be taken to task either.