Times Now Shuns Ethics to Play Tejpal Tapes at Prime Time
In a super exclusive, Times Now played the Tarun Tejpal sexual harassment tapes despite an in-camera trial.
Times Now, a leading English news channel, broadcast the tapes showing Tarun Tejpal allegedly sexually harassing a woman, as a ‘Super Exclusive’ on its prime time shows ‘India Upfront’ and ‘The Newshour’ on Monday, 28 May.
After coming under fire for allegedly breaching the law by airing material that was under trial, Times Now has taken down its online version of the article.
Tejpal, the former editor-in-chief of Tehelka magazine, allegedly sexually assaulted a colleague inside an elevator in 2013 during an event hosted by the news magazine in Goa. The matter is currently before a trial court.
The tapes were played repeatedly by Times Now, questioning the claims made by both the woman and Tejpal. The channel also went on to read the woman’s testimony of Tejpal’s alleged behaviour, and though it seemingly didn’t side with either party, some of the panelists on the channel went on to discredit the victim.
Through all of this, Times Now never acknowledged that the Tejpal case was an in-camera trial – a judicial process that bars the public and press from observing the court proceedings and reporting the details.
Network of Women in Media up the Ante Against Times Now
Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), an association working towards promoting gender equality, has written a letter to Times Now highlighting the gross negligence displayed by the channel in airing the show.
In a detailed response to to the channel, NWMI has written: “The show was advertised in a sensational and salacious manner. It apparently sought to shape public opinion in favour of the accused and conduct a media trial, in the manner in which it took on the role of an investigating and adjudicating authority by airing footage of what is actually evidence in the ongoing trial”.
The association has also slammed the channel for the ‘so-called analysis’ of the footage followed by a discussion which amounted to a media trial and has done more harm than good.
Twitter Calls Out Times Now
After Times Now’s ‘Super Exclusive’, journalists, lawyers and a lot of other Twitter users slammed Times Now for discussing the tapes while the matter was still in court.
The woman’s lawyer Rebecca John in a post said that not a single lawyer on the panel spoke of the illegality of playing the tapes of an ongoing rape trial.
Twitteratis slammed the channel for its gross neglience.
Twitter users also hit out at Times Now for making the situation worse for a woman who dared to come out and speak against her perpetrator.
Times Now Finds a Supporter in Shefali Vaidya
Columnist of news website Swarajya, Shefali Vaidya, however, supported Times Now’s decision to air the “Tejpal tapes”.
(This article has been updated with the statement from Network of Women in Media, India.)
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