The Hindu withdrew its story which claimed that a man had molested a dying woman on the foot over-bridge at Elphinstone station, Mumbai, where a deadly stampede claimed the lives of at least 23 citizens. The media house issued an apology for its “failure to adhere to journalistic norms”.
We regret the publication of the report titled ‘Dying woman molested, video shows’.
— The Hindu (@the_hindu) October 3, 2017
When The Logical Indian came across this story on different portals and went through the clip, we realised that the video used as the source was incomplete and inconclusive. The original report, written by journalist Vedika Chaubey, was eight seconds long and nothing much could be deciphered from it. Many news portals, including international media houses, picked up the news and published similar stories. Following this, other videos of the incident surfaced on social media; these were longer and more descriptive – and showed that the man was actually trying to rescue the dying woman and not molest her. We carried a story on the same on October 3. You can read the story here:
The news of the men actually helping not just holds importance from a journalistic point of view but also from a humanist point of view. The news of the “molestation” was widely shared and many who came across the original report and other reports base on it felt hopeless over how such a thing could take place but the full video tells us a different side of the story, convincing is to have faith in humanity no matter what.
The Hindu duly retracted the story and issued an apology on the first page of the its Mumbai print edition.
There were mixed reactions to The Hindu’s apology. Some appreciated the media house for taking responsibility. However, a greater number of people regarded The Hindu’s mistake as “unforgivable”. Some also urged that the media house to fire Chaubey.
The Logical Indian take
While there is no justification for publishing misleading content, especially by a credible media house, we cannot ignore that The Hindu rectified its mistake and apologised for the same. It retracted the original story, published articles with updated information, and apologised profusely. We live in an era where some media houses intentionally publish fake stories/maligning information for political encashments and don’t even apologise for this. One such example is of Zee News not even apolgising after getting a notice from the NBSA. In such times, The Hindu’s apology should be appreciated and commended by us, as readers.
There are many urging The Hindu to fire Chaubey for writing the story; the decision on the appropriate action lies with the media house. Chaubey’s story was damaging and there are sections in the Indian Penal Code and the Norms of Journalistic Conduct that will decide the necessary penalty for the journalist.
As readers, we should be more concerned with media houses acting responsibly in case of errors and keeping us informed of the same. We should pressurise other media and digital platforms that covered the original “molestation” story to issue an apology for their story on this issue. Tackling fake news falls upon each of us and we should know where to direct our anger – at those voluntarily spreading fake news or the ones rectifying their errors?
It is now for other media and news portal to follow the suit and apologise to their readers for such mistakes.