Reporters Without Orders Ep 29: Alwar Lynching, #Section377, state of health journalism and more
The latest episode of Reporters Without Orders features our host Cherry Agarwal, along with Amit Bhardwaj, Rohin Verma, two-time Ramnath Goenka awardee Rahul Kotiyal, and Anoo Bhuyan from The Wire. The podcast kicks off with a discussion on media's narrative around Akbar Khan's lynching in Alwar. “If you go through our story, we have actually demolished the police’s version of what happened that night, point by point," says Amit. He also points out the importance of the three hours that elapsed between the incident and the time taken to reach the Ramgarh CHC. Cherry adds, “What I found missing from the larger media narrative was that the two accused were moving around with the policemen.” Amit weighs in to add that the media's narrative changed on July 22 -- the blame shifted from the gau rakshaks to gau rakshaks and the police. Rest of the panel weighs in too. Anoo adds that she didn’t feel the issue had been obfuscated in the English print and online media, while Rahul emphasises the need for minutely questioning the police’s version of events. Amit expresses his concerns over the disturbing parallels that exist between Akbar’s case and Pehlu Khan’s case. Subsequently, the panel discusses media's coverage of #Section377. Anoo weighs in on the problems that exist across Indian news organisations and stresses upon the need for more inclusive newsrooms. Rohin concurs with Anoo, and points out that sometimes a callous attitude is adopted by the media in its reportage on LGBTQ issues. Speaking on the issue, Rahul points out the clear division that still exists between Hindi and English media's reportage of the issues related to Section 377. Nevertheless, he says, “things have gotten better”. The panel also discusses if reporters are equipped to handle sensitive conversations. The gang also discusses the state of health journalism in India. Anoo details the challenges faced by health reporters in India, with people still having regressive attitudes and at times, treating it as an extension of 'Lifestyle and Wellness' reporting. Rohin points out the hazards of what he calls “baba ji ki booti" reporting, which is reportage done at the cost of important issues like the death of children in Bihar from Japanese encephalitis. The panel also discusses how Muzaffarnagar case was under-reported. For this and more, Listen up!