Media Ethics

Kerala women’s panel wants action against media for naming actor in sexual assault case

The commission has asked its counterpart in Tamil Nadu to take measures against publications that named the woman or used her photos.

The Kerala Women’s Commission has asked its counterpart in Tamil Nadu to take immediate action against media organisations for publishing the name or photos of the Malayalam actor who was allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted by co-star Dileep in February, the Newsminute reported on Monday.

“We have written to the TN Women’s Commission and PR department, asking them to take immediate action against those media houses publishing name and details of the survivor. Kerala women’s Commission Chairperson MC Josephine has asked for strict action against them,” said a press release, according to the website.

The incident was initially reported as a kidnapping, after which a number of media organisations mentioned the name and used photos of the female actor who had allegedly been abducted. Later it emerged that the woman had also allegedly been sexually assaulted, yet many news organisations continued to publish details about her, despite it being illegal to do so. The Newsminute pointed out a number of Tamil news organisations that continued to publish the name and photo of the female actor, despite repeated requests by the actor, the Kerala Women in Cinema Collective and others.

Some media organisations in Kerala had given the name and photo of the actress immediately after the incident and this should be removed immediately, PTI reported the press release as saying. Scroll.in had edited its article on the alleged kidnapping to remove the woman’s name after subsequent reports included allegations of sexual assault.

On July 12, the Angamaly Judicial First Class Magistrate Court rejected Malayalam actor Dileep’s bail plea in connection with the case and remanded him to police custody for two days. Dileep was arrested after the police found a photograph of key suspect Pulsar Suni from one of his shooting locations.

It is alleged that Dileep and director Nadirshah had hired Pulsar Suni – the female actor’s driver, who had been sacked – and others to carry out the crime. The two are believed to have had a tiff with the female actor over some business deals years ago, after which they hatched the conspiracy, according to the police.

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