All we did was have a farewell party, and we ended up harassed, abused and maligned on camera.
On 11th April, we were at a private farewell party at Rain, a Club in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. As we were leaving, we noticed a man videotaping our female friends on his phone. We confronted him about this and asked him to hand over the phone or delete the video.
Soon a crowd had gathered around us, including police personnel and one media crew. The media crew started filming us without our permission. They did not make any effort to enquire about the reason for the confrontation, focussed instead on tormenting and chasing us.
The next day, we woke up to the news that a local news channel, TV9 had run a completely concocted news story using the video taken the night before. As a part of their moral policing campaign against ‘club culture’, we were displayed as under-aged girls who were drunk and were creating a ruckus. None of us were drunk or under-aged, and the TV report itself admitted to being clueless about why there was such an obvious confrontation.
This report was soon joined by numerous others from other channels including ABN Andhra Jyothi, Saakshi TV, Studio N, NTV Telugu News Channel, CVR News, and TV11. All of them were sensationalist, unresearched and extremely grotesque in their manipulation of the truth.
The news channels’ portrayals are rife with images of our harassment, which was only furthered by their treatment of the footage and the hateful commentary that went with it. All of the reports that were aired distributed footage of us without our consent, were obviously misleading and even defamatory and completely disregarded the gravity of the context in which the confrontation arose.
Attempts to contact the channels in order to demand explanations yielded no results. Their officials gave evasive answers and did not cooperate with any request to issue clarifications. We were even told that they had done nothing wrong and that there was no point in cross-checking.
In light of the evident transgressions on the part of the media, (who engaged in relentless sensationalism, resorting to cheap and lowly tactics to raise TRPs and viewership) we demand that all of the TV channels including ABN Andhra Jyothi, TV9, Saakshi TV, Studio N, Ntv Telugu News Channel, CVR News, and TV11, to -
1. Take down the video and
2. Issue public apologies in their respective media.
Help us ensure that these media do not resort to moral policing and unprofessional, sensationalist journalism in the future.
In light of the evident transgressions on the part of the media, we demand that all of the TV channels, websites broadcast/hosted these defamatory videos/articles issue public apologies in their respective media. We also demand that all these media outlets run a story with the students’ clarification immediately.