Regulators

Media should reflect on whether airing gang rape film is justified: Jaitley

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NEW DELHI: Even as the Delhi High Court is still to decide finally on the ban on India’s Daughter by Leslee Udwin, Information and Broadcasting Minister (I&B) Arun Jaitley said, over the weekend, that the media worldwide should reflect on issues surrounding the film made by BBC and specifically on whether a media organisation should allow its platform to be used by a rapist to justify his innocence.

Asked by reporters in London to give his view on the ban, Jaitley who, is a also lawyer, said the matter was in court. 

“The Home Ministry and Parliament had a certain view, which was expressed. Without getting into the issue because it has been challenged in the court and let the court decide this; I will only mention two points to be borne in mind by anyone who wants to produce any film on these causes,” he said.

Jaitley pointed out to a provision under Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code, which came into force following the Justice Verma Committee report, to prohibit the naming and showing any photograph of the rape victim.

“Secondly, it is a question for the media itself to debate whether during the pendency of the appeal, a media organisation should allow its platform to be used by a rapist to justify why he is not guilty,” he added.

“My understanding of the English law is that on both these counts in a sub-judice matter wit the appeal pending, a media forum may not have been made available to the accused to justify his innocence,” Jaitley said.

He made a direct link with the comments of one of the rapists, Mukesh Singh, who had claimed he was at the wheel and hence “not part of the act.”

“These are the two crucial issues on which I would like the media itself to reflect on,” the Minister said.

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