Will Murdoch Pull The Plug?

From the mouths of the Jains to Murdoch’s ears…a new world with no Page 3 and topless women.

ByRajyasree Sen
Will Murdoch Pull The Plug?
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Is the pioneer of Page 3 – after ruling over many a topless model for nearly 42 years – finally bowing to the wishes of the easily offended? Well, it seems so. It also seems like this might just be Apocalypse Redux 2013. Because not only is The Times Of India running a campaign about respecting women, which says that women should not be objectified, but Rupert Murdoch, the grand doyen of booby pictures in the papers, is actually “considering” doing away with Page 3 in his papers.

Yes you heard it right. Yesterday, in response to a tweet from a follower, Murdoch on Twitter obliquely referred to doing away with Page 3 in his papers.

Granted this is not the first time that we’ve heard murmurs of Murdoch’s disapproval at being forced to make money off the mammary glands of the fairer sex. According to a Guardian report, “According to Fleet Street lore, Murdoch is said to have been unhappy when topless Page 3s were introduced by the then Sun editor Larry Lamb in November 1970. However, any latent opposition the proprietor harboured at the time appears to have vanished as the newspaper’s circulation rose and the topless Page 3s become closely associated with the brand”.

Well, it seems that Murdoch might finally have had a change of heart. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. The UK’s topless pages have been plagued by a No More Page 3 campaign for a while now. Also, Les Hinton, a former News International chairman, who was one of those who bowed down during the News of the World scandal, also tweeted:

So will this be a world with no nudies? Where the only women we see on the pages of The Sun are fully-clad women? Even though Dominic Mohan, editor of the Sun told the Leveson inquiry that the topless pictures on Page 3 were “meant to represent the youth and freshness, celebrate natural beauty” and were simply an “innocuous British institution”.

Good for Mohan that he’s not in India. Because two other media magnates might have had a word or two to say to him. If you think only Murdoch is “considering” stopping Page 3, the Jains have gone one step further. Finding a conscience between the sheets, it seems. They’ve started The Times of India, Respect Women campaign. Quarter page ads, extracts of which are as follows:

The Times Of India. Respect Women. Full Stop.

Women are not item numbers.

They are not chikni chamelis.

They are definitely not fevicol.

They have not been put on this planet

Purely for your entertainment or pleasure.

A woman is not an adjective.

If you cannot respect a woman.

You are nothing.

Extract from Ad 2:

The true test of your manhood is

How you treat a woman.

All women. Any woman. Every woman.

If you do not respect a woman

You are only half a man.

Warms the cockles of your heart doesn’t it?

Only problem. Right after you read these ads and feel awash with pride and sorrow at having misjudged the Brothers Jain, you turn to the supplement. And are greeted by pictures of not-so-pretty half-dressed women and the magnificent orbs of Ameesha Patel and Mallika Sherawat. Which sort of ruins the effect of the campaign.

Maybe instead of tweeting or pulling the plug on his highly lucrative Page 3, Murdoch could take a leaf out of the Jain flexible morality book. And just take out quarter page ads waxing eloquent about the wonders of the virtues of women. Far easier, less damaging to the bottomline – not of us women, but of the newspaper – and such easy PR. First he goes and sacks his editor and shuts his newspaper for ethical malpractices and now he wants to kill Page 3. Look East, Mr Murdoch. Let our editors show you the way to ethical indifference and flexible moral posturing.

Image By: Abhishek Verma

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