In a shocking incident that took place in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, a minor girl was raped by three boys whom she has reportedly met through online game PUBG which has now been banned by the government. The incident came to light on October 14 when the girl finally told her mother about the incident. Her mother went to the Ashoka Garden police station to file a complaint against the accused. The police have nabbed all the three accused using their mobile phone locations. The accused Fuzail, Farhan and Rizwan have confessed to the crime on being interrogated by the police. But these names were missing from a report on the incident by PTI, thereby hiding the identity of the accused.
According to reports, the victim became friends with the accused through online game PUBG which has now been banned by the government. The accused started chatting and speaking over the phone with the girl who is a resident of Ashok Garden area. Last month, the accused took the girl to a flat in Rambha Nagar in Gautam Nagar in the name of ‘outing’ and gang-raped her. The accused recorded a video of the incident. They blackmailed the girl using the video and gang-raped her on several occasions for about a month. The girl did not tell anyone about it fearing consequences. According to police, Fuzail works as an AC mechanic, Farhan works as a painter and Rizwan works with an architect.
The incident was reported by the Press Trust of India (PTI) which had inconspicuously omitted to mention the names of the three accused while giving all other details related to the incident. The PTI version of the incident was picked by many mainstream media portals including NDTV, Hindustan Times and Firstpost. who reported the incident without mentioning the names of the accused.
The Communal Bias of Mainstream Media Portals
It is a common practice for many mainstream media portals to reveal or conceal the identities of characters in their reports to suit their narrative. The bias of the mainstream media portals in reporting cases involving persons from certain communities was recently exposed by the manner in which certain incidents were reported by some media portals. In an incident, where a woman named Aisha, who had converted to Islam to marry a Muslim, had self-immolated alleging harassment by her in-laws, the Times of India made every effort to conceal the identity of the in-laws of the victim and the fact that it was an inter-faith marriage.
However, the paper does not shy away from mentioning the names of victims where they belong to Muslim community or Dalit communities. Similarly, while reported the same incident, the Indian Express went a step ahead and highlighted the Dalit identity of a Congress leader named Alok Prasad who was arrested by the police for allegedly provoking the woman.
Vernacular Media is no Better
In another incident in which a Hindu boy was brutally beaten to death by a Muslim mob opposing his relationship with a Muslim girl. The reporting of this particular incident by News18 Lokmat showed how even the vernacular media is not free from bias. News18 Lokmat described the death of the 18-year old boy Rahul Rajput as a result of “inter-caste” love affair. These media portals thrive on the lack of awareness of the readers and further their narrative.