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Tamil media channels slammed for moral policing, shaming women in a case of revenge against a Chennai pub

Outraged sparked over the coverage of Thanthi TV, Polimer News, and News 24x7 where they repeatedly focused on the women's clothing, with the cameras purposefully taking close shots of their bodies. Despite the women's clear discomfort, the camerapersons could be seen hounding them, the majority of whom covered their faces with a scarf or dupatta.

On Monday (20th November), some of the local media channels in the state of Tamil Nadu crossed their limits and targeted young women for personal revenge. Local media channels like Thanthi TV, Polimer News, NewsTamil 24×7 and others chased young women, harassed them, and shot their derogatory videos after a group of 5 men levelled scandalous allegations against the pub in Chennai for denying entry to them.

The incident happened on Sunday (19th November) at around 11:30 pm. The saga began when a group of 5 men in an inebriated state insisted on entry into the Big Bull bar in Chennai at 11:20 pm. The bouncers on duty and the pub management refused entry to the men stating that the pub had a mandated dress code that required men to wear shoes. Later, the bouncers also informed the men that the guests at the pub were about to leave and were being served their last orders before 11:30 pm.

The men, however, created a ruckus at the entry gate and re-insisted entry into the pub. On refusal, they sat on the pub gate and threatened that they would beat up any customer who exited. This led to a minor argument between the men and the bouncers. One of the 5 inebriated men meanwhile informed his friend who works at some local news channel.

One of the pub employees while talking exclusively to The News Minute stated that the 5 men waited for long at the gate. ” Later, a media person arrived at the pub. He asked what the ruckus was about and tried to enter,” he said.

Later, six other men joined the media person and they all tried to barge in the pub. The event was recorded in the CCTV footage in which the bouncers could be seen stopping the men from entering the pub forcefully. One of the men from the group was identified as a reporter for News Tamil 24*7.

By midnight, more media persons from other local media channels arrived at the spot and inquired about the incident. The camerapersons then began chasing women guests who were at the bar at that time.

Many people were shocked and outraged by Thanthi TV, Polimer News, and News 24×7’s coverage. The shots repeatedly focused on the women’s clothing, with the cameras purposefully taking close shots of their bodies. Despite the women’s clear discomfort, the camerapersons could be seen hounding them, the majority of whom covered their faces with a scarf or dupatta. The camera repeatedly attempted to get close-up shots of the women’s faces.

The headlines flashed by the local media channels including Thanthi TV also targeted women as they screamed, “All-night alcohol party busted by police; half-dressed women ran out during the incident.”

In one video, a woman is seen urging a cameraman to stop filming her and threatening to sue him. To which the cameraman responds angrily, “Go ahead, Get lost.” Thanthi TV edited their post on X as public outrage grew on social media but failed to make it less offensive. “Here’s what the ladies did at night, and how the police arrived at the scene quietly,” the headlines read. 

The coverage attempted to portray women wearing whatever they wanted at a pub as an ‘immoral’ activity that had to be stopped by police. The other local media channels also showed women in the wrong picture. However, later the police who arrived at the spot took cognizance of the event and termed the matter to be an event of revenge.

It came to the fore later that the 5 men who weren’t allowed entry into the pub wanted to settle the accounts with the pub management and so used the media to defame the pub and target the women. The media personnel meanwhile informed the police that the pub was operating beyond permissible hours which is 11:30 pm in the city of Chennai.

Notably, the police were called by the pub management seeking protection as they saw some of the media persons barging into the pub forcefully at around 11:30 pm. The Police reached the spot and tried to look into the case. “The entire issue looked like some sort of revenge,” one of the officers was quoted as saying. As per the reports, no FIR has been filed in the case and the pub management has been asked to give an undertaking saying that all the rules regarding the pub operations will be followed.

Notably, the local TV networks have come under fire for attempting to film female customers at the bar under duress and for making “misogynistic” comments about the clothes they were wearing.

According to an official, they have brought the issue to the attention of the city police commissioner as they cannot allow ‘media power’ to be abused for personal gain.

The police claim they have not received a complaint from any of the women who claim media personnel harassed them, but they will take action if one is filed. They also confirmed that no pub manager was arrested, as reported by some media outlets.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani is known for her satirical and factual hand in Economic, Social and Political writing. Having completed her post graduation in Journalism, she is pursuing her Masters in Politics. The author meanwhile is also exploring her hand in analytics and statistics. (Twitter- @sidis28)

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