Journalists are thought to be impartial observers, who dispassionately report on issues around them without fear and favour. But a leaked audio from the Hathras rape case has shown that certain parts of the media were looking to actively push a certain narrative as they pretended to report on the events.
In audio footage accessed by OpIndia, India Today journalist Tanushree Pandey can be heard asking Hathras victim’s brother to convince his father to record a statement that he was pressured by the state government and then send it over to her. Throughout the 16 minute long audio clip, Tanushree Pandey pleads with the victim’s brother to record a specific statement in which the victim’s father denounces the UP government.
More worryingly, the India Today journalist also appears to use pressure tactics to make sure she gets the video byte she wants. She has that she has learnt from somewhere — she does not specify where — that an attempt is being made to blame the death of the sister on her family itself. This information hasn’t been reported anywhere else, and appears to be a fake claim to put the family on the back foot, and subsequently pressure them into making the statement Tanushree Pandey wants.
Through the conversation, the victim’s brother appears dazed and shaken, and doesn’t commit to anything that Tanushree Pandey says. Tanushree Pandey begs, pleads and threatens the recently-bereaved man to provide the statement she needs. But what the conversation shows that what you see on TV is not what journalists are observing on the ground — what is see is what has been carefully created, directed and peddled by the media to tie in with the agenda they want to push.