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What Do We Do with Obscenity in Times of India?

It is well known that Times of India has been in the forefront of corruption of journalistic ethics in India with the introduction of soft porn into the daily media.

Over the last few days we have been debating the article which appeared in TOI on February 11th with the title “Govt Can’t Ban Porn Website for Obscenity”. This article written under the byline of Mr Manoj Mitta has created a big stir in the country as well as in the blogosphere. This article was published with the specific intention of expressing the support of TOI to the banned website savitabhabhi.com. The publication had to bring to the notice of the public that the site is now accessible in an alternate URL and this “Advertisement” was carried through this article. In order to have maximum impact, the article was accorded the pride of place in the top of the front page on the right hand side with a space of nearly quarter page. More over the article appeared in perhaps all the editions in the same prominent position.

savitabhabhi.com could not have bought such a front page advertisement across all editions except for a cost of perhaps over 5 lakhs. It is therefore essential for us to think why TOI accorded such a premium position to the article. Was it a matter of national interest? or Was it of financial interest to TOI? Obviously, the article had no national interest at stake and hence it must have been a matter of great interest to TOI financially.

It is in this connection that we need to take note that TOI has been a purveyor of a new culture on soft porn in India preint media. I spotted one online petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-reading-times-of-india-the-pornographic-paper.html which had been floated some time back on this issue. I also spotted a interesting blog enttry at http://dilipbarad.blogspot.com/2008/04/obscenity-and-nudity-in-times-of-india.html also highlighting the same.

The blogger Dilip Barad lamented

“…Now, it’s in main news item that TOI don’t miss a chance to print obscene, indecent, and lewd pictures. It all began under a beautiful name of ‘Save the Girl Child’ and see where has TOI gone. Is it necessary to print naked female figures to save the girls and women? Every now and then TOI bring sensual story in the name of ‘save the girl child’. Their representation of the story which is illustrated with similar kind of picture is so lascivious, voyeuristic and libidinous that at times it raises serious suspicions in the mind of reader. What is the intention of TOI in ‘Save the Girl Child’ campaign? Is it really to save girls and women or to give worst schemes and designs to woo, seduce and molest more girls and women..”.

How can TOI get away with this sort of journalism? Is there no Press Council which can take action? Or is Press Council powerless?. If Press Council is powerless in respect of “soft porn in Print media”, then is it also powerless when TOI uses its columns to make false statements about Information Technology Act amendments as they have made in the article of February 11th which has been countered in my earlier two articles ,http://www.bloggernews.net/123795  and http://www.bloggernews.net/123809 . Is it not coming under the “Ethical Norms” that Press Council is expected to protect? Is there no public responsibility for the Press Council? Does it act only when a formal complaint is made? Or is TOI group too powerful to be touched by the Press Council of India?

I hope we, the public of India can get a reply from Press Council of India in this regard.

PS: I spotted this webpage http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=52933 which says that the Supreme Court had issued a notice to Press Council of India and the Government if it is necessary to issue “Adult Tag” to news papers. I am not aware of the further developments on this. I request readers who may have information on this to share it with public.

This is an earlier Press Council ruling on obscenity in case of TOI:http://presscouncil.nic.in/Decisions/decision05/38.htm


February 13, 2010


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Indian Pseudo Secularists all set to play a fraud on the society, Oct 31,2006


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