‘We can see cigarettes’: In Delhi hit-and-run, some media questioned victim’s ‘partying’

Misogyny and victim-blaming is not new to television news in cases involving a woman as victim.

ByTanishka Sodhi
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‘We can see cigarettes’: In Delhi hit-and-run, some media questioned victim’s ‘partying’
DCW chief Swati Maliwal hit out at the media airing 'cheap statements' by hotel staff.
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However, it must be added that several primetime anchors continued to question the Delhi police. Sudhir Chaudhary, for example, stated on Aaj Tak that it didn’t matter if the victim was drunk or not, and that the Delhi police still had questions to answer on lapses on their part. On Republic TV, Arnab Goswami questioned the probe and also said that the theory of the victim being drunk was being floated so that she could be blamed for driving drunk, and the Delhi Police could possibly use this in order to protect the BJP leader involved.

The editorial yardstick, however, differed in a few other telecasts. Republic Bharat speculated on the “secret” the victim’s friend held. Posing questions to the hotel staff, the channel’s reporter even went to the extent of pointing out that the friend of the deceased had lied to her parents about organising a party while she was actually just a guest in a room herself, quoting hotel staff.

However, the ostensible relevance of these questions was lost on viewers. The hotel staff, at one point, seemed annoyed over repeated queries by Republic Bharat. “Do you have a habit of listening to the same thing twice,” the manager shot back.

The reporter asked the hotel staff, thrice, if the girls were drunk and went on to ask about an alleged fight between the two girls, and how it took place because they were intoxicated. He also found it newsworthy to mention that the hotel staff had informed them how the girls were partying with two men in the same room.

On India Today, meanwhile, a hotel employee told the reporter that the girls were hurling the choicest abuses after which they were told to stop. 

On News18, the anchor said the “secrets of the night” will be revealed by opening the room in which the girls had checked in. The camera zoomed in on cigarette buds and peanut shells. “We can see cigarette buds,” said the reporter, also pointing out hair strands which he said belonged to the two women.

Meanwhile, newspapers like the Indian Express kept the focus on the accident and not what the victim did or not before the incident, with a report on 40 injuries detailing the horror of the night. The Times of India, Hindu, and Hindustan Times also reported what the provisional autopsy report said, and what the victim's friend stated.

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