Regional media on Friday aired clippings of women students returning from a party, painting them as “drunk” and “half-naked”, accompanied by moralistic commentaries on pub culture

News reports on Friday by vernacular media channels depicting a few women students returning from a party as “drunk” and “half-naked” have evoked strong protests from the latter. The students are mulling the option of filing cases against channels and reporters citing defamation, criminal intimidation and sexual harassment.

Speaking to The Hindu, the students from Nalsar Law University said they had been stalked, harassed and videographed by persons from the channels on Thursday night, when they were returning from a farewell party thrown by their juniors.

The footage went viral on Friday, with many channels repeatedly playing the clip, accompanied by critical commentary about pub culture. The news also appeared in a few vernacular newspapers, with observations about women getting drunk and creating ruckus on roads.

The students contend that they were just a bunch of partygoers, whom the media targeted and videographed without permission, and caused slander by circulating the footage.

“We were filing out of the pub by 11 p.m.ting into the cabs, when we noticed a person videographing us girls on a mobile phone. ple around including bouncers from the pub, so We objected and asked him to delete the footage. He refused to do so. When we demanded that he hand over the mobile phone, he gave us another one that didn’t have any footage. After getting into the cab and going a little further, we decided to return as many of our friends were still near the pubturn the mobile. Upon returning, we noticed that a huge crowd had gathered, along with a media person and camera,” Adwitiya Kareng Das, a student from the group, said.

Information reached the cops who arrived at the place. Before the situation could be explained to them, the cameraman began to shoot the women.

‘Relentless harassment’

“The media persons were relentlessly chasing us, and even after getting into the cab, and hiding my face, they harassed me by pursuing with their cameras. They never let us explain what had happened before they arrived,” Sravanthi (name changed), a final year student of law said. Later, the footage was edited to resemble a violent face-off.

On Friday, the students were shocked to see story playing out on TV. ries portraying them as drunk, and indecently dressed. Some footage even partly blurred the girls’ images creating the misconception that they were moving about topless. The incident was wrongly reported by media as past midnight, they alleged.

“The whole episode was misrepresented and made to look like a moral issue. They tried to engineer social opinion against using the footage,” Sravanthi says.

Repeated calls to the channels seeking to stop the telecast of footage did not yield any results, Adwitiya says.

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