Reporting of abuse or abuse of reporting: Gurgaon incident, an observation of reporting language

Representational image.

The alleged sexual abuse and murder of a 7-year-old boy of Gurgaon based Ryan International School is not exclusive news now. He was found with throat slit in the toilet of the school Friday morning. Later it gets clarification as it was a murder not sexual abuse. NDTV reported quoting PTI, “The child die due to excessive bleeding. There was no sexual assault on the minor and no semen marks were found on his school dress,” news agensy PTI quoting doctor, who conducted the postmortem. These are the matter of investigation and judiciary probe indeed.

We here want to discuss about the news potryals of this gruesome crime reported in English press.

Deccan Chronicle writes in their article: “Killer attempted to sexually abuse 7-year-old schoolboy,” PTI quoted police as saying. They headline is, “7-yr-old schoolboy’s killer held, tried to sexually abuse him: Gurgaon police”

Screenshot of reporting on Deccan Chronicle.

Several other newspapers described this crime by framing phrases as “sexual assault”. HT anonymously quoted, “He wanted to sodomise the child but could not. Fearing he would raise an alarm or inform the authorities, he took out the knife and slit his throat,” said an official.

Screenshot of reporting on HT using the word ‘sodomise’.

Malayala Manorama headlined, “Bus conductor arrested for sexually abusing, killing 7 year old boy in school.” But wrote in their article “Police said he then went to the washroom, and then waited there, intending to commit sodomy on any student who walked in.”

The Tribune, TOI reported “Kumar’s family in Bhondsi also claimed he was innocent, though later in the day, outside the Gurgaon district court, Kumar made an “admission” of guilt before news reporters and said he had committed the murder because the child had seen him in an “objectionable position” (after his arrest on Friday afternoon, Kumar had told police he was stimulating himself inside the washroom when the boy walked in).

But police suspect he tried to sexually assault the boy, going by traces of semen that they claim was found on the child’s clothes, and slit his throat with a knife when he resisted.” Indian Express, NDTV, News18, Indiatoday, TheQuint , The Hindu used the phrases like ‘sexual assault’ or ‘sexual abuse’. Scroll.in headlined it as “Crime Against Child” and picked the term ‘abuse’ quoting IndiaToday in its main article. DNA quoted Gurugram Police Commissioner Sandeep Khirwar, “The previous records of the accused are being scanned. He has confessed to have killed the child. He was inside the washroom when the child entered. When the victim resisted his advances, Kumar slit his throat. He then washed his hands, cleaned the knife, threw it inside the washroom, and left. We have requested for a trial in a fast-track court.”

Screenshot of reporting on TOI.
Screenshot of reporting on DNA
Screenshot of reporting on TIE
Screenshot of reporting on Indiatoday.in
Screenshot of reporting on News18.com
Screenshot of reporting on NDTV.com

Gender neutral law & Sodomy:

We also know that this is a country where the only form of any recognized sexual wrongdoing towards a man is sodomy, under section 377 of IPC. So, it is essential for the victim to prove before court that he has been sodomised. This on the other way contradicts another verdict of 2013. On that verdict the Centre passed its stop-gap Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, which substituted “sexual assault” for “rape” and made the crime gender-neutral from the aspect of both perpetrator and victim. Yet this was, in effect, a mixed bag. While the recognition of male victims and female perpetrators was solved, it did not use the word “rape”, which was a significant omission. Mentioned in a previous article by the Scroll, which read “India’s law should recognize that men can be raped too”

Legal definition of sexual harassment according to US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” are deemed as sexual harassment. It fits perfectly for any gender and is neutral.

In American perspective, The Slate carried an article headlined, ‘What is sodomy?’ , which explained, “The word “sodomy” itself is something of a misnomer, since the Bible contains no mention of homosexual conduct among the residents of Sodom. That corrupt city was not destroyed because of acts of buggery but rather because its citizens were inhospitable to God’s angelic messengers. Sodom was not linguistically linked with anal sex until the Middle Ages.” SaahilMurli Menghani, anchor of news18 tweeted 

Screenshot of tweet by SahilMurli Menghani

In response to his tweet a kolkata based mental health care professional Anindya Kar has something different to say

Screenshot of tweet by Anindya Kar, in reply to Sahil’s tweet

I have contacted this user (Anindya) to know why he is opposing this particular word. To which he replied “There is no harm on using Sodomy because the dictionary says it means anal intercourse. But for example in today’s India if we are highlighting a famous transgender activist’s work we will never use the word Hijra or “XYZ, the cyclonic Hijra of India,” because the word although means transgender will be derogatory and has been used as a slang for decades. Proper linguistic approach makes people aware of their own gestures and eventually helps to eradicate the hate words. Recently American Psychological Association interchanged the term “Mental Retardation” from their dictionary DSM(Diagnostics and Statistical Manual) with “Intellectual disability”, despite of the same meaning. The approach was just to address this subconscious hatred.”
If we are reporting about rape or sexuality of a woman we don’t need to describe it as “vaginal intercourse”. Even our lawmakers are in confusion to term “marital rape” which is in judicial process. For child abuse the word “sexual assault” is enough to describe this heinous crime. News is for everyone. There is no point confusing the readers by using particular ‘misnomer’ word like ‘sodomy’. If so, what would be the perfect word for language press?

However we are hopeful towards new English Media of India, where they are reporting/tweeting in a more sensitive way and consciously in sense of equal rights and tweeted

Screenshot of tweet by ScoopWhoop.com

The Scoopwhoop news headlined on Ramjas Professor case as “After 10 Yrs, Ramjas Professor Proved Guilty of Sexually Abusing a Number of Male Students”.

Words, in fact, can aid to thinking language of news reporting also.

With editorial inputs by Mita Biswas this article is produced by Sk Badiruddin.

He is a Kolkata based freelance multimedia journalist writes on socio-cultural affairs. He can be contacted on twitter @skbadiruddin

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Affidavit of Frog Name: Judging of Science Reporting

It was 2014. And the news broke. Fourteen species of dancing frogs were discovered from the western ghat of southern India. The study was led by The University of Delhi’s well-known amphibian biologist, professor Dr. Satyabhama Das Biju. He heads Systematic Lab of the Department of Environmental Studies, there. He is a celebrated Indian frog discover-in-chief and wildlife conversationalist. Later media coined him the “Frog man of India.” He was interviewed in Sanctuary Asia magazine.  He has been featured in National Geographic. If you see this article, you will find how to report a science news when it belongs to biology. Because it is well articulated with captioned images (frogs’ scientific names are there in the caption) and a nice audiovisual documentation. Links are there. And it is a universal rule that Genus name should be Italic, the first letter in upper case and species name would be Italic and start with lower case. Sometimes species name may start with bold that have a new modernised rules of nomenclature simply naming of animals or plants.

Let’s now come back to this year. In February he has discovered seven tiny frog species. The Hindu headlined (dated 22th Feb 2017) , “Tiny frog species found in Western Ghat.” It was bylined T. Nandakumar. These tiny frogs belong to endemic Nyctibatrachus genus. It reports simplified, named four of the species in just frog name i.e., Athirappilly Night Frog ( close to Kerala’s Athirappilly waterfalls) inspired, Radcliffe’s Night Frog, Sabrimala Night Frog, Kadalar Night Frog. Other two frogs’ name was missing. Article has single frog image sans caption. It also reported quoting scientists, “Five of the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ have small ranges and their habitat is under threat.” But there was no scientific names. They mentioned only four names out of the seven.

This discovery was reported on Dailymail headlined “The fingernail frogs: Seven tiny new species of amphibians” dated 21st February 2017, bylined Shivali Best. Seven frogs name were reported. These are Vijayana’s Night Frog, Manalar Night Frog and Robin Moores’s Night frog along with  previously mentioned four in this article. In The Dailymail copy there were all these seven frogs’ names accompanying captioned images. There the author has written the common names, so there is no problem with the italic or capitalisation in scientific genus and species name.

Dailymail: image with specific frog’s common name.

Dr. Biju’s team has been discovered new more four frogs species recently which was reported in June. The Hindustantimes (by line Malavika Vyawahare) headlined (dated 20th June 2017) “Indian scientists discover four new frog species in Western Ghat.” These are: 1. Fejervarya kadar (in the name Kadar tribe of Kerala), 2. Fejervarya monoharani (in the name of T. M. Moniharan, former chief conservator of forests of Kerala, who extended his wholehearted support to Prof Biju during the early years of his amphibian career), 3. Fejervarya cepfi (named after the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund abbreviated CEPF), 4. Fejervarya neilcoxi (in name of Neil Cox, the manager of the biodiversity assessment unit at the International Union for Conversation of Nature, IUCN). All these infos are nicely mentioned in the HT’s article. They use images too of the specific species. There was no species named CEPFI, it’s a species name called cepfi. The third image was captioned, “The newly-identified Neil Coxi species. That species name is nielcoxi. Interestingly all Fejervarya genus-species name were non-italic. Is it for looking nice or editorial policy that’s a universal scientific name appears in that manner?

HT : image captioned would be cepfi in scientific name or CEPF in common name

HT: image captioned Neil Coxi. It would be neilcoxi in scientific name or Neil Cox’s frog in common name. And all scientific name were written in non-italic in the article.

Huffingtonpost did Spelling mistake on frog name by same bylined author earlier on February’s discovery (dated 22th Feb 2017) which headlined, “Four New Species of World’s Smallest Frog Discovered In The Western Ghats.” One species they called Athirappally Night Frog in the name of Athirappally waterfalls, which should be Athirappilly Night Frog. We do change village or city spelling sometime but do we change generic name of medicine or PSLV rocket spelling? And with same captioning SD BIJU..SD BIJU. Everything in science should be proper spelled when it deals with name.

HP: genus name Fejervarya not “Fejerarya.”
HP: species name is athirappilly not athirappally.
HP: image without proper caption or credit: SD Biju 
HP: Monoharan’s Burrowing Frog not Maohrahan’s and Neil Cox’s not Neil’s Cox. 

Scroll also reported this discovery bylined Vinita Govindarajan, dated 21st June 2017 headlined “In pictures: Four new species of burrowing frogs discovered in the Western Ghats.” Did one spelling mistake Fejerverya genus which would be Fejervarya. But they correctly spelled in Fejervarya as scientific name with the common name and well captioned images with the common name i.e., Nielcox, Monoharan’s Burrowing frog. But do have mistaken in scientific genus-species writing. All Genus name are italic but species are non-italic.

Scroll: genus name is Fejervarya not Fejerverya
Scroll: genus names are italic but species name are non-italic.

Newspapers or digital media for news are not research journals. These are supposed to inform a layman or all people from different non-scientific and other educational backgrounds. BBC did a simplified reporting on frog species discovery just mentioning genus name without distortion of spelling and representative captioned images. Indian science writers grow up! We don’t have Shiv Aroor who do tweet thread of warplanes or defence craft by correcting mainstream media’s spurious images. It’s not frogged.

Sk Badiruddin is a writer & independent journalist. He can be contacted on twitter @skbadiruddin

​How did mainstream English media misplaced modifier of the Calcutta HC order termed “minority appeasement” and politicise the report regarding curbs on Durga Idol by West Bengal govt

It was a order about immersion of Durga Idol regarding a PIL of October 6, 2016 by a single-member bench of honourable Justice Dipankar Dutta of High Court of Calcutta.

What was Justice Dutt phrased:

“There has been a clear endeavour on the part of the State government to pamper and appease the minority section of the public at the cost of majority section without there being any plausible justification.”

Note this phrase is “to pamper and appease the minority section of the public” not the minority religious sections of the public or community.

It was two separate​ hearing:

Two separate judgements by the High Court on Thursday, October 6, 2016 set aside the Kolkata police directive to complete the immersion by 4 p.m. on October 11, the day before Muharram.

The Hindu headlined “HC slams West Bengal for curbs on immersion”  and reported:

While hearing a public interest litigation petition, a division bench of Chief Justice Girish Gupta and Justice Arindam Singha extended the deadline till 6 p.m. on Dasami.”

And the other was “On the same day, while hearing a PIL plea by the Dhar family of Burrabazar, Justice Dipankar Datta allowed immersion of household idols till 8.30 pm on October 11.”

But in the report of the Indian Express  “two separate judgement” term was missing instead reported “Dutt allowed three petitioners representing two households and an appartment complex” and headlined,“Culcutta HC lifts Puja curbs, slams Bengal “bid to appease minority.”

It was reported,

The Kolkata police had also directed that there would be no immersion the next day because of Muharram. Immersion resumed on October 13, Justice Dutt said there was no decision prohibiting immersion beyond 4 p.m. had added, “illegal deprivation on encroachment thereof by the administration deserves to be interdirected for protecting their right.”

This report was written by Aniruddha Ghoshal. In his report the article also quoted, “appease the minority section of public”

The New Indian Express headlined,

Calcutta HC rejects bar on Durga Puja immersion; slams state for “minority appeasement​.” But in detailed report quoted Justice Dutt as same as I quoted here initially​ of this article.

Hindustan Times was headlined,

Culcutta HC pulls up state for puja restrictions meant to ‘appease’ minorities. But was mentioned there “according to a report by the Indian Expres” which I am linked earlier.

But added in last line of their report “The state government has so far not appealed the high court’s ruling. ”
In the news analysis of Scroll.in Shoaib Daniyal headlined,

Why did the High Court accuse the Mamata government of appeasing minorities during Durga Puja?

He also mentioned mererly about the “politicised court order” in the points and phrased:

This is welcome move. However, given the sensetive nature of the issue, the political and theological comments by the court in what is simply a matter of law seem rather unneeded and represent an unnecessary politicisation of the judiciary function.

Now I share some headlines from right-wing websites.

Postcard news headlined, “Calcutta High Court slams Mamata Government for Restricting Durga Pooja to Appease “Minorities”!

Rightactions headlined, “Calcutta HC slams Mamata badly, says you are appeasing muslims and will lead to intelorence”

Both artilcles were quoted from that Indian Express article.

Without scroll, in an article by-line Charu Kartikeya on Catchnews of Rajasthan Patrika was headlined, “Calcutta HC Puja Order: your honour, what exactly is minority appeasement”. He analysed about the courts terminology and other aspects this order. Surprisingly mainstream English media failed to give basic treatment of a judgement rather politicised by a single article. This is a real example of distortion of legal reporting merely a politicise narrative.

The author can be contacted on Twitter @skbadiruddin

A Crusade Against the Shabbiness in Medico-System in India

People for Better Treatment
Kunal Saha’s Crusade: People for Better Treatment

Story no. 1:

Tulika Samaddar, 42, a housewife of a mediocre family, lives in Kolkata—the city of joy, which is also popular to provide satisfactory health system to citizens living in Eastern and North-east India and also a large part of Eastern Uttar Pradesh to Nepal and Bangladesh. But Mrs Samaddar is now not feeling well with her eyes. Mrs Samaddar had been admitted for cornea operation of left eye in a super-speciality hospital. Due to medical negligence she lost her right eye, which wrongly operated throughout surgery.

Story no. 2:

Binita Roy, 55, was a school teacher. She was treated under a well-known doctor and got operation for her appendicitis. After appendicectomy her stomachache began to non-cooperate with her. She went to another surgeon and enjoyed the ache of re-surgery to take out cotton threads of previous operation.

Both are same story and of medical negligence and irresponsibility. Dr Kunal Saha is a victim of it. His life was tattered when Anuradha Saha, his wife died of a disease called TEN on May 28, 1998. But he refused to relinquish. He fought against hospitals, regulatory bodies, influential doctors and the “entire system” to get his voice heard. He did get justice, but after a bitter combat of 15 long years. On Wednesday he has got a cheque of Rs 4.24 crore from AMRI. But the hospital deducted Rs. 1.o6 crore as income tax. He has raised question how can they do it? It is not an income, but a compensation. He would file a contempt case in Supreme Court on Monday, as the entire amount of Rs. 11.5 crore was not paid. He got Rs. 1o crore from AMRI.

Recompense may fuel for research:

The compensation barely covers the expenses that he had to spend fighting the case for 15 years. As a medical practitioner in USA, he has a decent earning. Still, he had to file for bankruptcy in 2011 and foreclose his home. His research in AIDS was spifflicated. The money is not important for him. His quest is to change the medico-legal system that robs people in the name of providing them modern medical facilities. On Tuesday, a Candigarh victim got compensation of Rs. 70 lakhs simply by quoting Anuradha’s case.

People for Better Treatment (PBT):

Now he has launched an NGO, named the People for Better Treatment (PBT) to guide victims’ families. It is not easy to fight against a corporate hospital chain or a rich doctor. It’s impossible for a general Indian citizen. You must have a fat bank balance and proper connections. He has able to afford the expenses, but all can’t. PBT so far has provided support to over 10,000 families. It has branches in five metros. The headquarter is in Kolkata.(beside this he is penning a book on it and has plans to make movie on it.)

Biggest impediment in this long effectual battle:

To fight putridness was most difficult for him. It is very deep-rooted everywhere in India, even in the judiciary. The judgments of the West Bengal Medical council, for instance went against him but MCI (Medical council of India) asked for cancellation of license of Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee. None was ready to find with these senior medicos. Facts were being overlooked. Regulatory agencies are run by people with poor certification. There was no justice for victims of medical negligence when he hoped the situation would meliorate now.

He thinks

  • You need the regulatory bodies to be limpid.
  • A single body should hear the complaints of negligence rather than multiple platforms.
  • Also, you need more non-medical people on board.

He does’nt hold Sukumer Mukherjee, who wrongfully treated his wife, as the only one responsible for her death. He is a part of a blemished system. In fact, he sympathizes with him. There are scores of other doctors like him in Kolkata who are getting away after killing patients.

(this article is based on public welfare purpose not intended or harm to any person or institutions reputation or brand name)

Details: pbtindia.com

How to find better search results in Google

Google our gateway in Internet
Google our gateway into Internet

Stored by Sk Badiruddin Rahaman follow me on twitter.com/skbadiruddin

There are a number of ways of improving our Google searches. Here this content I have discussed some special techniques to experience better use in Google.

Google provides a guide to the paths you can polish your search here:

http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=136861

And here:

http://www.google.com/help/operators.html

Wikipedia comes up high on most search returns, and so do fact sheets and one or two news stories. For journalistic research this is not particularly helpful, and slow down.

Search for a phrase (“”)

Double quotes in a search term tell Google to look for that phrase, exactly as you have typed it.

Search within a specific website (site:

If you want to get results from one particular website, you can refine search term like this: Google allows you to specify that your search must come from the given website. For example, the query [India site: aljazeera.com] will return pages about India but only from aljazeera.com. The simpler queries [India aljazeera.com] or [India Al Jazeera] will usually be just as good, though they might shows results from other sites that mention the Al Jazeera.

Search within a specified class of site (site:ac):

If you want results only from, say, government or academic sites you can refine your search by following your search term with the site category: [crime site:gov] or:  [crime:site ac]. If you want to search only on sites from a particular country you can use country identifier from the URL, such as “in” for India, “bd” for Bangladesh, “it” for Italy and “fr” for France.

Search with an asterisk or wildcard(*)

You can use the asterisk, *, or wildcard, as part of a search term. When you do, Google treats the asterisk as a proxy for any term. So, for example, if you are researching a politician’s voting record, you can use this search term: [Jetly voted * on the * bill], and get results that focus on Arun Jetly’s voting record.

Search with the OR option (OR)

Words such as “or” would normally be ignored by Google—as would other very common words. But if you use the capitalized OR you can use it to refine your search. So, for example, [crime statistics 2013 OR 2014] will give you results for either of these years. The search term [crime statistics 2013 2014] would only show results for pages that contained both of these years.

Search for erased content (cache)

Searching in Google’s cache can be very useful when the material you want has been removed from a site. Perhaps something contentious, which would make a story defamatory/libelous, has been removed from the latest version of the site. If you type in the search dialogue: [cache:www.etctopicsite.com] (replacing the subject site with the URL of the site you are interested in) you will see the version of the page that Google has in its cache. With luck the page before it was amended will be held here.

If you add to your search term the work you want to search for, by leaving a space then after the URL like so: [www.etctopicsite.com victim], then those words will be highlighted within the cached document that is returned.

You can also get the cache by performing a standard search and clicked on the cache by performing a standard search and clicked results returned.

Search for definition (define:)

If you want to check the usage of a word or phrase, put [define:] before your word or term and you’ll get results that define it.

Search for stock prices (stocks:)

If you begin your search term with [stocks:] and then follow with the ticker symbols rather than the company name, your returns will focus on stocks.

Search for all words in a site’s title (allintitle:)

Starting your query with this restricts your results to those with all of the query words in the title. For instance [allintitle: garden ponds] will return only documents that have both “garden” and ponds in the title.

Search for all words in URL (allinurl:)

Starting your query with this restricts the results to those with all of the query words in in the URL.

The search qualifies [file type:], [inurl:] and [intitle:] are very useful to build search strings that reach deep within sites.

Search for trends

http://www.google.com/trends

This give you results presented on a timeline, and this graph shows you how many times your search topic appeared in Google News stories. So you see peaks of interest. It also presents link to news stories, and indicates where on this graph they were written.

So, type in “tsunami” and you get a graph of the peaks and troughs reflecting interest in the topic, and stories written at a number of points over that period.

Search by category

http://directory.google.com

Your topic might be anything from crime to gardening, and returns will be from that category. This short of search can be useful in identifying rich areas of useful information. It might be a magazine, maybe a university site, maybe a book. The next step is to refine your search using one of the other devices listed here, to get to the exact information you want.

Search scholarly papers

http://scholar.google.com

Search within books

http://books.google.com

Courtesy:

Andy Bull, Multimedia Journalism A Practice Guide, Routledge