Sunday, July 10, 2005

Reporter's diary--Part 2

Hmm...So I finally reached the area where the actual family stayed. This family stays in one of the numerous slums Mumbai has. I was directed by a small girl to the house of that family. I am really amazed as to how these people live. It was like a bhool-bhullaiya, by the time I reached the family's house, I was completely lost. I mean the distance between two houses is so small that I can't walk properly...it's like I am walking on a narrow bridge and if someone comes opposite to me, then we both are stranded. I don't know if I am describing the whole scene properly...But well, that's another post altogether. (I really wanna visit the slums of Dharavi, I am wondering when would the visit happen...hmmm) Ok, I went to the house and inside there were two ladies sitting. I thought they were Rajasthanis. Well, when I introduced myself, I could actually see them tremble. I was shocked to see that. I wasn't intimidating, I didn't speak anything wrong. But well, I was prepared for a negative reaction, so did not really mull over it. I tried convincing them once but well, I came out on the main road. I was talking to the little girl when the little girl suggested to me that she will take me to the family's friends' houses. I agreed. I went to another family's house. I began just talking to them about idhar-udhar ki baatein and then broached about the family's topic. Suddenly they started talking in hushed tones. The interaction went something like this....
Family Member (FM): That guy died of AIDs na?
Me: Umm...welll.....ummm........errr... (I wasn't sure whether to open my mouth here) How did you arrive at this decision?
FM: Arrey, it came in the newspaper...
Me: WHAT? (absolutely shocked)

Well, newspapers normally never mention the names, addreses or anything related to the victim. So I was shocked to know how they came to know about it?

FM: Arrey, it came in the XYZ Marathi paper. His name also was mentioned. That's how we all know.
Me: WTF! Do you have the copy of the paper.
FM: Oh yea....here it is..(he removed the paper out of his pant pocket and showed it to me)

I stood staring at the paper, completely shocked beyond my wits. The reporter had not only mentioned the victim's name, he had also mentioned his address. SICKOS! Now I knew why the family trembled. I can visualise how people around them would have subjected them to thousands of questions, simply cause AIDS is such a taboo topic. I shudder to think what the family must be going through. The lady has 3 kids. The kids will surely be mocked at. DAMN!

I kept telling myself...ETHICS OF JOURNALISM.....whr did it go? all for a toss.... Now the entire galli, mohalla knew about the incident. Ironically I felt really powerful that day. But you know, alongwith power comes responsibility. I think many journos forget that. The kind of effect media has on people, is amazing. A small report in 4th page could bring about such a huge difference....This incident was an eye-opener for me as a journalist. I think i would take extra pains now to see if I am not hurting people's sentiments. I know I have to be more aware now.

9 comments:

John said...

Yes, I think journalists should be very careful in what they say...especially in a country like India..i'm glad we have journalists like u who still hav their ethics in place..and i look forward to reading ur stuff in print! :)

Indian Media Notes said...

Very interesting point on AIDS patient. But the key issue is the fundamental reason...whether it is to disclose the name or not. Ordinarily, perhaps not best to mention name but you need to have the context, no? Pls do check out my media blog.

Shobha said...

John: Thank you John :) Do you blog?

Indian Media Notes: Ummm..see the issue is not about the person who commited sucide. It's the bigger picture we have to see, why are IADS patients from one particular hospital commiting suicide...that's what is needed to focus on. In matters as touchy and sensitive like AIDS, no need to mention names and all. I mean, it doesn't make any difference na, the bigger issues are suicides and the reasons!

iyer education said...

it is very heartening to her the incident about the names and addresses being disclosed...

but i have one doubt... even if the journos not disclose the names, wudnt the neighbours get to know abt the original person... as in in cases of suicide... the names are not stated... but the floor and the building names are stated... doesnt it get obvious ?

Pranshu said...

Umm Ethics of Journalish :))) :P hehe.. n u reporter ... u dun read a very famous Sunday times ;)X-(X-(

Parii said...

That's a good point, and a valuable lesson to all in the media... I hope you use your wisdom when the time arises...

andy said...

:P with great power coems great responsibility huh!??.. COPYCAT!!..Thats spidey talk!!..&*%(&^%..:P:P..
hmm..journos can make a difference... now only if they decide to do something constructive about it.. oh well!!..

Anonymous said...

wow shobha....i read the posts i missed. and i must say supppaaakk...

just spo happy to be knowin u maah journo shobzu;)>:D<

I totally agree wid u about the concern about the bigger picture here.

wud u please post about some "riot victim; u spoke to long bak?(remember u told me u did) i wanna read that story too....
cyaa n all the bestt
-sonali(titzbitz)

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