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India: Video of Sexual Assault Goes Viral, Media Ethics Questioned

Recently a video of a 16-year-old Indian girl being molested outside a pub in Guwahati by a group of nearly 20 men went viral after it was put on YouTube on July 10, 2012. It was also aired by a local television channel and netizens have questioned media ethics especially the way this news spread. Simantik Dowerah thinks that the media and police could have acted more responsibly  and failed to perform their duties. Sharmila Ravinder calls this a national shame. This news gathered a great deal of reaction on Twitter as well.

The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker writes:

Too shocked and shaken to say much, please watch this video (On NDTV) – you may feel that this video should not have been made public – or should have been edited before it was made available on You Tube, but now that it has gone viral, it should be watched so we can take a look at the faces of these molesters or rapists – these men should be recognized, found and arrested and given exemplary punishments.

The blogger also posts some screenshots of the perpetrators.

What bothers many is that bystanders witnessed the incident but no one came to the rescue. Some commentators questioned whether India is becoming a nation of bystanders.

Image courtesy Blanknoise. CC BY-NC-SA

Vidyut asks some pertinent questions:

* Why was the cameraman filming instead of helping?

* What was the cameraman doing on the street, prepared to shoot with a broadcast quality camera and journalist partner when the incident happened? Just “happened” to be there?

* Why is there early footage of the girls getting into an argument? Do off-duty journos shoot random people arguing?

Reports suggest that the victim is from an indigenous community and racial violence against them is not new. Much outcry among the public forced the police to act, and subsequently some arrests were made. The reporter who was accused of inciting the crime has resigned.

Ritu Lalit calls the women of India to be aware of their rights and they should stop tolerating abuse to prevent incidents like this.

Vidyut at AamJanata argues that the mob mentality in people whether online or offline, is a sort of mental violence that is disrupting the society. The blogger says:

All in all, it is high time we accept that we are living in a world we create. We are the victim, we are the molesters, we are the popcorn gallery.

Greatbong at Random Thoughts Of A Demented Mind says:

What should be done is that the perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and swiftly (just as how it happened in the London riots) and that and only that can be a strong disincentive for such incidents in the future. Nothing else.

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