Saturday, October 01, 2005

PRESS, POLICE AND PRIVACY



Recently a Tamil newspaper called ‘Dina Malar’ did something despicable to increase their sales. Their photographer, invited to cover a fashion show at a club called ‘Pasha’, trained his lens instead on couples on the dance floor. Close-ups of couples smooching and drinking were then splattered all over the newspaper - an utter and complete violation of journalistic ethic because it was a brazen invasion of privacy.

But before the outrage could even begin, the police stepped in and did something even more ridiculous. They arrested two staff members at the hotel where the pictures were taken! The charges against them were that they were permitting obscene behaviour and operating the bar without a license.

A favourite with Chennaiites - 'Pasha' will have to be on mute for the next three months according to court orders.

The police wants us to believe that the photographs of the smooches was the tip of the ice-berg. But hey…we all party and go clubbing. I have never seen anything that descends into something so obscene that people need to be arrested for it. 'Pasha' was made to appear like a den of vice, which it is not.

The buzz for a while was that the police was looking for the couples who were photographed kissing on the dance floor. Is anyone looking for that photographer?

14 comments:

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Bala (Karthik) said...

Just after writing my thoughts on this issue in my blog on Friday, i had a first-hand experience of the Chennai Chastity Belt. I was talking to one a lady friend in a rather isolated road near Anna Nagar, after parking my bike by the road-side. Voila, a cop came and started quizzing me and my friend and it was obvious where this was heading. As it was getting late for my friend and to avoid any embarrasment for her, i just had to play by the cop's rule and paid him his "alms". I could be living in Afghanistan, for all it matters!

Alaphia said...

Hi Bala,

Why did you give him "alms"?? You werent dong anything wrong.

Bala (Karthik) said...

Alaphia,
Yeah we sure weren't doing anything wrong but like i said, for certain "obvious" reasons i didn't want to cause a delay for or involve my friend in this...
Yes i myself am stoking the corruption fire but thats the way it is.....

Kaps said...

I don't understand the reason why English newspapers (Indian Express) and magazines (Outlook) are reproducing the Dinamalar pictures in their articles. This is like giving credence to what Dinamalar did.

REFLEX said...

Yesterday, I got some updates thru NDTV, Nidhi of NDTV was questioning the Comissioner. They are confused between Law and Moral.

cynicalcount said...

Well this is all following a pattern ..first khusboo case, then bar case and now this detention of a student for wearing red shirt and black pants.

Yesterday in X-factor , some vice chancellor of Anna university was talking and it all sounded like some Taliban leader talking. Jeans being distraction was the height of the numerous sad jokes he made. Unless people come and vote against the politicans who are behind all this nothing can change.

Bala (Karthik) said...

Can someone explain to me like i'm a six-year old, can a woman be ARRESTED for
a) Kissing her spouse/boyfriend in a discotheque
b) Wearing sphagetti tops and jeans and drinking
c) Saying in an interview that it is unreasonably on the part of men to expect that their wives should be virgins (and) girls should practice safe sex

I mean forget everything else, is there actually a law in our judiciary system using which, say Kushboo can be arrested??? If a commissioner uses his power to make the arrest, then who is up next in the command chain who can override it and point out to that ^&*%-head of a commisioner that our LAW doesn't permit such nonsense? Surely, there must be someone....

Ashish said...

hey got here from Roshan's blog... the Chennai moral brigade was in full throttle alright but was there any opposition, any at all?

Notes of a sceptical blogger said...

hey ... am here since I spoke to mangs a few days ago ... fortunately or otherwise I couldnt hear very much of her on the phone and so thought Id check on her through her blog ... noticed that she had more than a story of your evening at tc and so on ... and then I rather coincidentally I saw on screen you doing your good deed for the day which, hopefully will let people in madras kiss in peace in the not so distant future ..... anyway have liked many of your stories since the first one I saw in the wake of the tsunami ... only, this time however I was excited enough to do the telling ... keep the stories coming

Alaphia said...

Coolest guy on the planet - thanks.

Kaps - If im not mistaken, the other dailies reproduced the pictures but in such a way that you couldnt really tell who it was in them. Which is alright i think.

Reflex - Its a society in the throes of change...so every now and then you'll have friction when we cant decide which way to go. I thnk being confused between law and morals is a reflection of that.

Cynicalcount - I met the Vice chancellor after he came out of the studio - he looked a bit defeated. More power to liberals!

Bala - The Indian Penal Code, as Sanjay Pinto reported stops short of defining obscenity. Therefore it is open to interpretation and thats exactly what the chennai city police did. You can battle them in court if you disagree. In the 'Park Hotel case', the courts also ruled that the 'acts' of the people photographed were 'obscene'.

Hey Ashish - Yes lots of people thought the police action was despicable, but very few had the guts to say it. A guy in chennai, who calls himself a "cultural catalyst (whatever that means?! and i'll spare him the embarassment of naming him here) was invited to the studio and he was supposed to be the voice of the liberals in this city. But he waffled on air about 'obscenity being in the eyes of the beholder'...but proceeded to toe the police line by saying kissing is indeed obscene. When it comes to spineless spaghettis.. you'll find a huge buffet here in Chennai.

Hi Sceptical blogger - I just checked out mangs' blog after your comment. It was a fun evening. Im delighted that you've liked my stories. Will check out where you blog.

VHS said...

When it comes to banning dark colour shirts, the reason most often cited is that we are being prepared for the industry. Well I happened to be in one of those colleges where they actually did that and now with my brief stint in the industry, they have been proved wrong. The office campus defers every insane rule imposed by the college. How I wish the college authorities behave more like a 'professional' than just expecting others to be quasi professional!

Truman said...

I don't understand- These are policemen who define "morality" as per their own convenience. Whatever suits them. Holding hands is immoral- but taking bribe, being drunk on duty, raping a girl inside the police station [The Marine Lines, Bombay Case]- that is not immoral?

Alaphia- The whole "ethic journalism" aspect that you have mentioned and based this post upon- I am glad that you even recognised its existence. It saddens me to see how the mediamen often cross lines to have that "breaking news" logo first on their show.

Alaphia said...

Truman,
I think many thinking journalists are feeling very squeamish about falling standards in the media. But unfortunately, tabloidisation is something we have to live with. But serious journalism will survive because there is an audience for it.