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 over the option of filing cases against channels and reporters citing defamation, criminal intimidation and sexual harassment.

Speaking to The Hin du , the students from the Nalsar Law University here, 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 the 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. and getting into cabs, when we noticed a person videographing us girls on a mobile phone. There were many people 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 pub. We also wanted to return the mobile. Upon returning, we noticed that our friends had gone, but 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.

“The media persons were relentlessly chasing us, and even after getting into the cab, and hiding my face, they harassed me, training their cameras on me. 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 the story playing out on TV, portraying them as drunk, and indecently dressed.