Why do some rape cases get more media coverage and public attention than others? - letsdiskuss
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Ruchika Dutta

Teacher | Posted on | News-Current-Topics

Why do some rape cases get more media coverage and public attention than others?


Entrepreneur | Posted on

No doubt that it’s upsetting how selected rapes get the widest attention with repeated coverage on the front page. And then there are countless others that get hidden somewhere in the corners and quips of the third and tenth pages of the newspapers.

Every rape case should get equal coverage on a very regular basis to sensitize the society about the crime. However, the fact is, lost in its course of ethical and impact stories for the sensational ones, media seeks TRP and sales. So, unless a story is gut-wrenching, it won’t get the right feature.
Besides, we cannot pass the ball just to the media. Fingers must be pointed at us as well—the viewers and citizens. So thick-skinned now, calling such incidents as “common”, we don’t care if a child is raped in New Delhi or an old woman is raped and killed in Kerala. Because, oh well, it’s common and it will continue to happen. We don’t stop and listen unless an under-one-year old child is raped by the relative and her head smashed by a brick. (Sorry for this visual, but it’s true!)

For instance, which is the last rape incident that you remember getting the biggest spotlight? Likely the Kathua rape case where an 8-year girl was abducted, raped and murdered in J&K. Or the CBSE topper girl raped in Haryana? Did rapes stop happening after that in India? Or for that matter, did not even more brutal rape incidents happen following that?

The idea of someone getting raped has become too common to even care for the general public. And it’s evident in the reactions we see on social media channels. The “12-year old girl gets gang-raped and killed in Rajasthan” gets less reaction (and expected) response than, say, “Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma honeymooning in Finland” or “PM Modi congratulates winners of Asian Games 2018”. It’s sad.

We, as citizens, have failed to steer the seriousness and issue of rapes in the right direction. We’re still listening. We’re still responding on social media and friend circles albeit very less. But we have stopped understanding and realizing. We don’t understand and realize how, in Mulayam Singh’s words, thecasual “boys will be boys” attitude and culture are destroying lives of not just an individual but families and the future of this country.

I mean, come on, in our country that apparently worships women, a child under 10 is raped every 13 hours. Or, a child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes. In 2013 alone, 848 women were harassed, raped, killed and murdered every day. How many of these cases got media coverage on news channels and newspapers?!

We can easily pass the ball and call out media for this for not highlighting these cases. But one must ask that when media does cover these stories, how do we react and what do we do next!
The reason why media doesn’t cover all rape incidents on its first page or primetime is because they know that viewers do not care. They know viewers are thick-skinned today who wants Hindu-Muslim topics. Unless the rape case is too brutal and heinous that actually scars one’s conscious (for a minute or two; we forget very easily, you see), they don’t cover such stories with the vigor that they need to.

In short, we have together shaped a culture in India where we’re becoming less and less sensitive about rapes even when there are a lot more sensitizing efforts going on from various dimensions. Like I said, we listen, but we don’t understand.

(Courtesy: CNN)


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