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IN Media Practice | 24/12/2012
The Delhi gang rape and the public protests not only triggered a storm of coverage in the Indian media but was also was covered widely in the foreign media.
MONAZIR ALAM scans the coverage. Pix: photo from Dawn.com
The Delhi gang rape and the public protests it sparked not only triggered a storm of coverage in the Indian media but was also was covered widely in the foreign media. The Independent of Great Britain published the news quoting the Prime Minister, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dikshit. It writes “Women are raped in Delhi and elsewhere in northern India with numbing regularity. But the brutality of this attack has prompted unprecedented outrage “.

Dawn of Pakistan covered the incident and the public anger continuously. Dawn writes “National crime records show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year were aimed against women” in one of the reports. Dawn gives another data in its other report, “Rape cases in India more than doubled between  1990 and 2008. Sunday night’s case was the latest in a series of particularly brutal attacks in the capital.—AFP”.

The Express Tribune of Pakistan has also given a wide space to this heinous incident. Tribune put a heading “Indian parties let rape accused run for office: Study” in its one of the report. It writes its intro that “At least 20 men accused of raping women ran in Indian elections in the last five years, according to a think-tank report published amid growing outrage over the gang-rape of a student on a bus.”

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) study was released on Thursday as political parties lined up to condemn the rape of the 23-year-old woman. The Express Tribune quotes Jagdeep Chhokar, the founder of ADR, who says “Since 2007, political parties gave tickets to 20 rape accused to fight in state elections. This is shocking and requires urgent action,”. The ADR report stated that political parties had also given tickets to 260 men who were charged with other crimes against women, including molestation, says the paper.

The New York Times reports New Delhi has one of the highest reported rates of crime against women in India, though most experts believe that the official numbers barely hint at the real scale of the problem. Nearly 600 rapes were reported last year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, more than the reports from Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore combined. This year, the capital has already recorded more than 600 rapes and may set a record. The New York Times remember the another incident of rape in its report “Horrific cases of violence against women seem to happen with disturbing regularity, many of them occurring in the national capital, now often described in the media as India’s rape capital. In one highly publicized case in September, a 16-year-old girl in the neighbouring state of Haryana was raped repeatedly by a group of eight men, perhaps more, who recorded the assault on their cellphones and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. But the family came forward after the videos circulated and her father killed himself by drinking pesticide.”

If you look back at the one of report of The New York Times published last year it described Delhi as most dangerous large city in India for women. It further says the rate of reported rape is nearly triple that of Mumbai, and 10 times as high as Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, according to government records. A survey completed last year by the government and several women’s rights groups found that 80 percent of women had faced verbal harassment in Delhi and that almost a third had been physically harassed by men.

The Guardian of Britain is another foreign media which is following the incidents. The paper writes that demonstrations triggered by the attack in Delhi continued across India to demand a death sentence for the six men accused of the attack, and vigils in other major cities. It elaborates its report and says the debate in India on prevention of such attacks has largely focused on harsher punishments, more police resources and better monitoring of public transport. The Guardian writes, “The intense media interest in the attack – TV journalists outside the hospital where the victim is being treated file updates on her condition hourly – has led to the reporting of other attacks which would usually never make headlines.”

It also published another report with the heading of “India: hundreds of men accused of sexual violence stand in elections.” It starts its report with the figure provided by Association for democratic reforms “Hundreds of men accused of sexual violence towards women have beenallowed to stand in Indian elections in the last five years, including more than 30 charged with rape.”

The figures were released in Delhi by the Association for Democratic Reforms, a respected think tank, and were based on court records and electoral declarations filed by the candidates. Although most of the men concerned were contesting state elections, the report found dozens of men facing criminal investigations for assault, "outraging the modesty of a woman" and other charges had been selected by major parties to campaign for seats in the national assembly. 

The Sydney Morning Herald also has different takes on this incident. It reports ,”All six of the alleged assailants from last Sunday's attack have been arrested, but Delhi's police are viewed by many as corrupt, lazy and incompetent, and of routinely dismissing sex assault complaints. Senior officers are regularly quoted as saying that women who are sexually assaulted have themselves to blame - for wearing jeans, for being out at night, for talking to boys, or getting into cars with them. Even senior female politicians have blamed women for attacks.”

It also quotes Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, said she hated the ''rape capital'' tag and supported the death penalty for rapists. But Sydney Morning Herald reminds the reader Sheila last year saying, after a young woman was raped and murdered on the city's outskirts, her response was ''all by herself till 3am … you should not be so adventurous''.

South China Morning Post is another newspaper which reported this incident. It writes at one point Bowing to public pressure, Sonia Gandhi, chief of the ruling Congress party, emerged from her residence after midnight to talk to protesters. She went out again on Sunday with her son, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as a future prime minister.

“She assured us of justice,” said one of the students who met the Gandhis, though some in the crowds shouted: “Down with Sonia Gandhi!” says this paper.

Gulf News Khaleej Times analyzed the recent protest and writes, Instead of channeling the outrage, the government has found itself on the defensive over the use of force against the protesters and complaints that it has done little in its eight years in power to create a safer environment for women. It adds, the protests have been the biggest in the capital since 2011 demonstrations against corruption that rocked the government. It informs the reader the protests overshadowed an official visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin and disrupted his schedule.

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