That there is something rotten with law and policing in this country is not something unknown. This is a country where suspects can be kept in jails for years waiting for their cases to be judged, police can be easily bribed and investigations are often botched up and superficial. But in Arushi's case, the media had created an unholy alliance with incompetent Police to feed us half cooked stories and lies as breaking news just to keep their 24 hours channels running. Every news channel was trying to come out with its own version of truth and investigations. Investigations, done in studio rooms with graphics and animation and by hyper news presenters asking viewers to vote who they think were the murderers. An Entire nation was turned into detective. A new form of collective wisdom perhaps where murder mysteries would be solved in news rooms and by news polls and not by hard and objective investigation. All ethics of journalism were compromised on alter of one- up-manship and TRP race. Firstly, illiterate police officers leaked absolutely private details of Arushi to media and then Media did nothing but feed on it. Whatever happened to a minor's rights of privacy? Few things come out of this case for us a society to introspect:
police force is unable to do any investigation in a scientific and modern way. They are too prejudiced and biased to employ objective judgement to crack a case. They also appear virtually illiterate and have no knowledge of a person’s (dead or suspect) right to privacy. If CBI has to be called out in every other case, then what happens to all those cases which don’t get as much press and CBI involvement as this one did? And when police officers who botched up the case would be punished, if at all? Dont we need massive overhauling of our police force to bring them out of medieval mindeset and methods or is it that Police has forgotten how to investigate as it has beocme merely a coercise tool in hand of state?
News Media is fast turning out into a parody and circus of speculations and theories. It has forgotten all journalistic values and ethics and is high on its power and privileges. It thinks nothing about runing speculations as stories on a 14 years old girl's private life. It thinks that it is not answerable to anybody and can do anything in name of freedom of press. It is not able to self-regulate it and it is about time that someone else (State!!) did it. As my friend, says "you can’t really expect bunch of kids to self-regulate, they need bit of parental control". And presently, Indian news media, especially news channels are nothing more than quarrelsome bunch of kids. They need little rap on their knuckles.
There no privacy laws in this country. Anybody suspected of anything can be hounded by media, their names and pictures splashed 24 hours on TV. All kinds of insinuations can be mixed with fiction and drama to cook up a truth. Can Talwars now sue all those news channels which ran day long stories on them and had camped in front of their house? And why not!
A voyeuristic society ? As the case was unfolding "live" on news channels, there were reports of some production house planning to make movie or TV show based on Arushi's life , even before truth was revealed and investigations were over. That was clearly insensitive and indication of how voyeuristic we have really become . Afterall, if there is 24 hours coverage of a murder , trial by media and attempt to make TV shows on a tragedy, then there must be because many of us want to watch this on our TV sets. Is it an indication that we are becoming a voyeuristic society now where news , entertainment, gossips, halftruths are all mixed together in a heady concoction of 24 hours news sprinkled with advertisement breaks?